Three to watch: Local players headed for the NFL

Ra’Shede Hageman, Brock Vereen and Zach Moore hope to realize a dream in this week’s NFL draft.

hide

Zach Moore of Concordia (St. Paul) is expected to be taken in this week in the NFL draft.

Photo: Jerry Holt • Jerry.holt@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The NFL draft isn’t always a showcase for Gophers players, or for standouts from state schools. Last year, 254 names were called without a Minnesota college represented.

That won’t be the case in 2014. At least three players, with starkly different profiles, will give local football fans something other than the Vikings to watch.

Gophers defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman and defensive back Brock Vereen, and Concordia (St. Paul) defensive end Zach Moore are expected to be chosen during the three-day draft. Each completed private workouts and visits before having a few days to unwind from that taxing process before finding where they’ll start their NFL stints.

“There are no words you can put into when your name gets called and you’re part of a team,” Hageman said. “That’s what every kid dreams about doing — playing football and finally going to the draft and having your name called.”

The Lock: Ra’Shede Hageman

You’d be hard-pressed to find another 6-6, 310-pound defensive tackle in the draft with Hageman’s ability, and it’s why he’s projected as a first-round pick. He is one of a record 30 prospects invited to New York City for the draft and has a chance to be the first Gophers player picked in the first round since running back Laurence Maroney in 2006, and the first Gophers defensive lineman to go in the first since Aaron Brown in 1966.

Hageman doesn’t want to return to Radio City Music Hall for Day 2 on Friday, but he’s ready for that possibility.

“I’m definitely preparing for the worst, just because,” Hageman said. “I’m not that person just to brag or think I’m going to go in the first round. I’m just soaking up the opportunity to be there. If I happen to go first round, so be it.”

Hageman, a tight end at Minneapolis Washburn who was converted to defense by the Gophers, could slide into the second round because of questions about his work ethic and consistency. Hageman acknowledged these flaws, and said he has been asked about them by NFL teams. He temporarily moved to Milwaukee to train during the draft process and focused on improving his conditioning and mobility.

“These are things I can change and have been working on,” Hageman said. “So when I get that chance, I can definitely prove them wrong and use that to my game. Everybody has flaws, you have to understand. The fact that you can address your flaws and know what your flaws are, that’s taking a step forward to changing them.”

Hageman will be surrounded at his draft table with people that assisted him in achieving this goal. With him will be his parents, Eric Hageman and Jill Coyle, who adopted Ra’Shede after he bounced around in foster care; his younger brother, Xavier; his Washburn coach, Giovan Jenkins; and Gophers coach Jerry Kill.

The All-Big Ten first-team player doesn’t know how he’ll react when he shakes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand.

“I might be emotional, I don’t know,” Hageman said. “Nothing that big has ever happened to me.

“If it wasn’t for my parents and playing sports, I really don’t know where I’d be. Every day you have to be thankful for where you are because there are some friends and teammates with the same opportunities that didn’t take it.”

The Sleeper: Brock Vereen

Vereen was viewed as a Day 3 prospect at the start of the draft process until he aced his biggest test at the NFL combine. The Gophers standout posted the second-fastest 40-yard-dash time for a safety at 4.47 seconds and led all defensive backs with 25 bench press repetitions at 225 pounds.

“When you watch him on tape, his versatility to play safety and then you’ve seen him play some nickel and then, at the end of the season, you seen him play corner … and you see just how smart he is and aware he is when you watch the tape,” Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said at the Gophers Pro Day on March 3. “And then he goes to the combine and blows out a 40 … that really opened a lot of people’s eyes.”

Vereen’s versatility was his biggest sell until the combine. With his combine numbers, some think he could sneak into the third round. While he wouldn’t disclose which ones, the 6-foot, 200-pounder said he’s had 10 private workouts and/or visits with NFL teams.

His brother, Patriots running back Shane Vereen, warned him about how difficult the draft process will be and, at times, Brock said he lost sight of Shane’s biggest advice.

“He told me to have fun with the process and to really feel grateful to even be in this position in the first place,” Brock said. “It’s been a long process, that’s for sure. These four months felt like years.”

Brock will watch the draft with his family in California. His father, Henry, was drafted in the ninth round by Tampa Bay in 1979 before playing in the Canadian Football League. Shane, who went to Cal, entered the league in 2011 as the Patriots’ second-round choice. Mother Venita was a standout tennis player at UNLV, where she met Henry, and Brock described his childhood as competitive in an athletic environment. His favorite sport in elementary school was baseball, but he ditched it because it was “too sluggish” and focused on football when he was 12.

It turned out to be a good choice.

“It’s just a dream come true,” said Vereen about being an NFL draft pick. “A humbling moment to reflect on all the hard work it took to get to that point, but also a clean slate for what will hopefully be a long career.”

The Long Shot: Zach Moore

Most of the country will scratch their heads if Moore gets drafted, since he’s one of the obscure names that tend to pop up every year in later rounds. Concordia (St. Paul) hasn’t had a player taken in the NFL draft in the 45-year history of its football program.

Moore, who had a school-record 33 sacks at Concordia, was also the first Golden Bear to be invited to the combine. The 6-5, 269-pound defensive end ran the 40 in 4.84 seconds and posted a 10-yard split, which measures explosiveness off the snap, of 1.56 seconds. Moore felt satisfied by the performance.

The Chicago native had ambitions of playing Division I football coming out of Simeon Career Academy, where he went to school with Bulls point guard Derrick Rose and Cowboys linebacker Martez Wilson, but Moore didn’t qualify academically. He was referred to Concordia by one of the college coaches recruiting him out of high school.

“I thought I would transfer, but when I got to Concordia I met a lot of great people, great professors, loved the coaching staff and developed some good relationships,” said Moore, who sat out one season because of academic ineligibility. “I wanted to give a small school a voice. It was a pretty good five years.”

Moore learned to play in different types of defenses at Concordia, but the three-time all-NSIC player has constantly been asked about the level of competition at Division II.

“People fail to realize that there’s competition at every level,” Moore said. “Just because it’s not publicized or broadcast on TV like some of these D-I schools, to me really it’s not that big of an adjustment.”

Moore will be watching the draft as the pride of not only Concordia but his family and neighborhood. He grew up in south Chicago in the Bronzeville district, which was once known as a hotbed for singers such as Lou Rawls and Sam Cooke. The area now evokes negative connotations along with the rest of south Chicago — gang violence, drugs and poverty. Moore said he didn’t have much growing up, but gave credit to his parents for properly guiding him.

“It’s hard to put that feeling into words,” Moore said. “It means much more to me that I’m representing not only myself but the school, the football [team], my family back home, Simeon High School and a lot of other things.”











 

  • related content

  • Read the replay: Access Vikings Live Mock Draft

    Thursday April 17, 2014

    See who was selected by the fans -- for the Vikings and other teams -- with the first 10 picks of Thursday's NFL draft. And see what our football writers,...

  • Talking quarterback prospects with Greg Cosell of NFL Films

    Tuesday May 6, 2014

    Greg Cosell of NFL Films has many strong but objective opinions, especially when it came to the quarterback prospects such as Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Derek Carr.

  • Factoids and trends from recent Vikings drafts

    Monday May 5, 2014

    Which positions have the Vikings been picking in recent drafts? Which schools have they scoured? When have they been selecting players? And how many had staying power?

  • Cretin-DH Henderson's NFL draft stock still dropping

    Tuesday May 6, 2014

    Former Cretin-Derham Hall star raised red flags about drug use, work ethic.

  • VikesCentric: No mocking this draft

    Tuesday May 6, 2014

    There should be a $1 billion contest for predicting this year's NFL Draft.

  • Super Bowl bid goes in this week, but what's in it remains secret

    Tuesday May 6, 2014

    For an event billed as a community pitch, the Twin Cities’ Super Bowl 2018 bid is looking more like a state secret.

  • Former Gophers safety Brock Vereen turned heads with his speed and strength at the NFL combine.

  • Ra’Shede Hageman, a tight end at Minneapolis Washburn, became an All-Big Ten defensive lineman for the Gophers and a potential first-round NFL draft choice.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close