2014 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers select Ra'Shede Hageman

Scott Halleran

The University of Minnesota product has a rare mix of strength and athleticism, and could play defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense or a 5-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense.

The defensive line candidates swimming around the 15th spot in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft have to make the Steelers at least a little excited.

We highlighted a mock draft yesterday in which the Steelers selected Notre Dame's Louis Nix III, and we profiled his teammate, defensive end Stephon Tuitt.

Those three may just simply not bring the value Minnesota DL Ra'Shede Hageman would. He's the guy Walter Football mocked to Pittsburgh at the 15th spot.

(Our evaluation of Hageman will be posted soon)

Walter's reasoning:

I think Pittsburgh will take a receiver in the first round, but the top three players at the position are off the board. If that's the case on Draft Day, it'll depend on how much the team likes Kelvin Benjamin.

The Steelers spent a couple of early selections on five-techniques in recent years, but they've all disappointed. Only four teams registered fewer sacks on the quarterback than Pittsburgh, so perhaps the front office will try again.

Hageman is as disruptive as any other prospect in the draft, and while some will argue over whether his highest and best position is a 3-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense, or the 5-technique defensive end spot in a 3-4, what's obvious in watching him is a rare combination of strength and athleticism that would make him a steal at 15.

Odds are much more in favor of Hageman not being available at the 15th spot, and his upcoming workouts in the Senior Bowl as well as the NFL Scouting Combine will likely confirm that, but stranger things have happened, and one never knows which unheralded prospect will shoot up draft boards after those same workouts. Hageman could simply fall due to circumstantial reasons.

He's an outstanding prospect, one absolutely worthy of the 15th pick. But much like the early portion of draft speculation last year regarding Dion Jordon and Ziggy Ansah, he may simply prove himself too outstanding, and be chosen well before the Steelers are on the clock.

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