22 Jan 2014 02:34 PM EST
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Ra’Shede Hageman has impressed so far at the Senior Bowl. (Image Source: Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports)
Here’s a look at a pair of Big Ten defensive tackles participating in this week’s Senior Bowl:
Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota (6’6”/311 pounds)
Stats: 38 tackles, 13 TFLs, 9 Passes Defensed; Projection: First Round
The senior defensive tackle out of Minnesota might be the best least-known player in the Big Ten Conference and maybe the Senior Bowl as well. Like most defensive tackles, Ra’Shede Hageman doesn’t always put up monster stats because it’s not a position geared towards hanging numbers and teams often run away from the mammoth lineman, not to mention the numerous double teams he faced on most plays.
Physically, he has all the tools scouts will look for. Hageman has great size, coupled with amazing length, athleticism, speed and quickness. He is strong enough to get a bull rush right up the middle and quick enough to beat offensive linemen with his first step. He doesn’t just have nimble feet, as his hands are explosive as well. Hageman can also cover ground well for a 300-pounder. With his build and skill set, the Minnesota product should make for an excellent defensive tackle with the ability to play the five-technique in a three-four scheme.
DaQuan Jones, Penn State (6’3”/318 pounds)
Stats: 56 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, 3 sacks; Projection: Second Round
There were very few bright spots on Penn State’s defense this season. One player who shined on that side of the ball was their senior defensive tackle. DaQuan Jones has great size at 6’3” and 318 pounds, a true space eater in the middle. The senior can handle double teams and knows how to get off blocks to make plays. He’s still developing the skill set to get after the quarterback and will probably never be an elite pass rusher.
What he can do is get a push up the middle with his bull rush, which can make the quarterback uncomfortable in the pocket, however he doesn’t have that burst needed to get all the way to wrack up sacks on a consistent basis. Jones is quick and athletic for his size, although don’t confuse him with the elite three-technique types. His 56 tackles led all D-line on PSU and he had more tackles for loss (11.5) than any other Nittany Lion. Jones has the reputation for being tough but not necessarily nasty.
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Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.