(David Banks, USA Today Sports )
MOBILE, ALA – Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman is one of the most imposing prospects at the Senior Bowl.
Hageman, 6 feet 6 and 318 pounds, is a converted tight end and former basketball player who's projected as a first round draft pick.
The All-Big Ten Conference selection has steamrolled blockers, rarely meeting his match except when he was pancaked a few times by Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin.
Hageman ran the 40-yard dash between 4.8 and 4.9 seconds, bench presses 475 pounds and is flexible enough to operate in 3-4 or 4-3 schemes.
"The physicality I have, I'm capable of doing anything they want me to do," said Hageman, who said he tries to emulate NFL defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and J.J. Watt. "I'm disruptive. I'm too big to be average.
"I'm playing angry. When you go up against me, I just want to stand out physically. I can play nose tackle, defensive tackle or defensive end. I'm able to be diverse. I'm that person who can do it all."
Hageman met with the Ravens this week and could be an interesting draft possibility, especially if they're unable to retain free agent defensive lineman Arthur Jones. Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta praised Hageman this week.
Hageman had 34 tackles last season including 11 for losses, one interception, eight pass deflections, one fumble recovery and blocked a field goal try and extra point attempt.
The primary knock on Hageman is his lack of consistency. He didn't start until his junior year, during which he had six sacks.
"Any team, whether you're playing a 3-4 or a 4-3, I think that he has the skill set to play in both of those schemes," said Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith, who's coaching Hageman for the North squad. "I've been impressed with his athleticism at his size. He's done himself well."
Northern Illinois free safety Jimmie Ward was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Back of the Senior Bowl practices.
He intercepted seven passes last season.
"I showed them how comfortable I am playing against some of the nation's best players and that I can cover," said Ward, a native of Mobile. "I can show my tackling skills when Saturday comes, the game. Basically, I really just showed them I'm a versatile player."
Small height, big game
Wisconsin inside linebacker Chris Borland has aggressively tracked down running backs all over the field this week and has proven adept in pass coverage.
At 5 feet 11, 245 pounds, Borland's lack of height doesn't appear to hold him back. Borland had 420 career tackles including 50 for losses, 17 sacks and 15 forced fumbles for the Badgers.
"I've been asked the same questions for the last five or six years, so it's not a problem for me," Borland said. "I just smile and perform well."
Named Most Outstanding Linebacker of the Senior Bowl practices, Borland has the same height as former Miami Dolphins middle linebacker Zach Thomas.
"He reminds me of Zach Thomas, who had a great career in the NFL," Smith said. "And again, sometimes we put these measurables up as teams and organizations that we're looking for a guy to fit this mold and some teams have different philosophies that they're not going to take a player at a certain height at certain positions.
"I think the tape doesn't lie. You've got to watch it. That's your DNA. He's got great FBI (football intelligence) with what we've asked our guys to do in a short time."
Auburn pass rusher Dee Ford has been too fast to block all week and was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Lineman. … Most Outstanding Running Back went to Charles Sims (West Virginia), Most Outstanding Receiver went to tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa), Martin won Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman and Auburn kicker Cody Parker was named Most Outstanding Specialist. … Among the players DeCosta praised this week: Western Kentucky running back Antonio Andrews, Princeton defensive tackle Caraun Reid, Florida State inside linebacker Christian Jones, Martin, Georgia Tech outside linebacker Jerry Attaochu, Wisconsin cornerback Dez Southward and Oregon wide receiver Josh Huff.