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Falcons draft defensive lineman Hageman in 2nd round
Minnesota defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman (99) tackles Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah (8) on a 6-yard gain during the second quarter of a game against Nebraska last season. He was picked by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday. - photo by Ann Heisenfeldt

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Atlanta Falcons bolstered their pass rush by picking Minnesota defensive end Ra'Shede Hageman in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday.

Hageman, the fifth pick of the second round, joins a defense that ranked last in third-down efficiency, second-worst against the run and third-fewest in sacks.

Coming off a 4-12 season that was their first losing record in six years under coach Mike Smith, the Falcons vowed to get tougher on both lines.

They drafted offensive tackle Jake Matthews No. 6 overall on Thursday and signed defensive end Tyson Jackson and defensive tackle Paul Soliai in free agency.

Atlanta's defense was hampered last year by injuries to linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and defensive end Kroy Biermann. Free safety Thomas DeCoud underperformed and was released.

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