BTSC is truly in offseason mode nowadays, and I figured i'd help stir the pot a little. It seems to be the popular consensus that the steelers should be targeting Dontari Poe out of Memphis with their first rounder this year, due to the retirement of Chris Hoke and Hamptons injury and general roundness. I feel that there is one alternative being overlooked, and I don't mean moving Ziggy to NT.
How do you replace one of the best 3-4 NT's of all time, and an All-Pro level player? Why not look in the direction of a player who not only participated in this years Pro Bowl, but also a guy who is a free agent this year. I'm talking about Paul Soliai.
While Soliai is a bit tall for the NT position, Soliai's incredible strength allows him to take up double teams and play the run great, he also show's the athleticism of a much younger Hampton. Soliai has the work ethic that Steelers fan's love, a guy who's worked very hard to become the player he is today after being drafted in the 4th round (ala Aaron Smith or even Keisel). Adding to the chip on his shoulder Soliai was forced to go the way of Community College before getting a shot at the NFL, Soliai was something of a legend around the JuCo's playing for Coffeyville (very close to wichita where I stay). I don't think it would be very hard to persuade a guy like Soliai to come to a place where he could be the starter day one for a perennial super bowl contender and top defense, as opposed to the Dolphins who rarely compete in their division. Adding him to a line with Keisel, Heyward and Hood solidifies the D - line for several years whilst allowing the Colbert to concentrate their efforts on other needs such as the O-Line and a ILB.
I don't feel like Hampton will be ready to start the season on time this year, and I also don't feel as if he is worthy to be retained at his current price tag. Grabbing a younger player and most likely a upgrade would be in the best interest of the team. Hampton has been a warrior and perhaps deserves a little more loyalty from us, but that's another discussion all together.
I also recognize that players of Soliais caliber aren't cheap, but I trust Colbert and the front office could move things around to get the space. Losing Hampton as well as either Farrior or Foote would go a long way, as well as restructuring some guys. Also backloading his contract is an option I believe.
I would love to hear a few guys thoughts on this, also if you guys don't like him as a NT he did play some guard in college lol