The first who stands out - literally - is the 6-foot-8 left tackle Nate Solder. In a long line of successful Patriots tackles, Solder is performing well, even as the Patriots offense is uncharacteristically struggling. Considering the Steelers woes at that position, Solder would fit in nicely.
We'll leave RT Sebastian Vollmer off this list, as he won't be back in the 2013 season.
Cornerback Devin McCourty is another in a long line of solid to strong Patriots defensive backs. Like others that have come before him, McCourty has experience at safety and cornerback, and is having another strong season. The absence of Aqib Talib may push him around the field a bit against Pittsburgh, but he'll be a tough match-up for whomever he has.
Talib has been injured, but otherwise, has played very well this year. Hasn't been suspended or arrested once, either. So he's got that goin' for him...which is nice.
A long-standing belief is the Steelers had linebacker Dont'a Hightower earmarked in the 2012 NFL Draft until David DeCastro surprisingly fell to them at 24. Judging on a low sample of film this season, Hightower seems more of a two-down player at this point in his career, but he's a decent run defender. Not enough to surpass Solder though, especially if the Steelers would like to put together an inter-NFL basketball team.
This site has long praised the versatility and toughness of defensive end Rob Ninkovich, and even with the Steelers' woes at tackle, Ninkovich would be a big boost to the Steelers reforming defensive line and front seven.
Some pretty good options to sort through on this Patriots team. Who would you take?
Check out SB Nation's Patriots site, Pats Pulpit, for the latest news on the Steelers' Week 9 opponent.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- McBriar's plant leg is healthy, looking to contribute
- Clark haunted by own ghosts
- Steelers Film Room: Reserve linemen come up short
- Kenbrell Thompkins squares off against his cousin Sunday
- Give him credit, Antonio Brown owns up to missed opportunities
- Jason Worilds has second chance to make last impression
- Steelers vs. Patriots: Limiting big plays is key
- Steelers Injury Report: DeCastro misses Wednesday practice
- Jarvis Jones says Steelers want him to be more technical and technique-sound