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Atlanta Falcons roster review: Paul Soliai

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The big man in the middle.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Soliai is the Falcons massive space eater in the middle of the defense. Soliai can force double teams with the other defensive tackles in the rotation to help keep blockers off of the middle linebackers and weak-side guys. Atlanta has some talent to rotate with Soliai in 2016, and this should allow Soliai to have another great year like he did in the 2015 season. He's the Falcons best run stuffer and space eater against the passing game.

2015 Season in Review

Soliai played a total of 40 percent of the snaps in 2015 primarily focusing within the base sets next to Ra'Shede Hageman. The massive combination of the 6'4", 345-pound Soliai and 6'6", 315-pound Hageman allowed Falcons linebackers to flow to the ball much more cleanly than they have in the past. Soliai also teached other linemen how to disrupt the interior during pass plays.

He led this by example by blowing by his one-on-one matchups on the few pass rushes he had. In base packages, the double teams that he forced allowed the rest of the offensive line to see more one-on-ones. The problem with the Falcons is that they didn't have edge players to win those one-on-ones. Soliai also contributed 22 tackles and three tackles for loss of his own.

Contract Breakdown

Over the next two seasons, Soliai is scheduled to count approximately $6.9 million towards the cap. It jumps up in 2018 to around $8.4 million. Atlanta should be able to absorb the hits for this year and next year if he can continue to play well in 2016. However, the moment that he drops off is when the Falcons should cut him. A potential replacement for Soliai's role might be on the roster already with Joey Mbu, though.

2016 Projection

The Falcons should keep Soliai around for another season as the primary 1-technique in base packages playing the same 40-45 percent of the snaps that he played in 2015. Atlanta's run defense thrived with Soliai and Hageman dominating the middle and forcing guys to the outside. It will only get better with more time in the scheme and more of Grady Jarrett rotating in with the base packages to keep Soliai fresh.