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How the Atlanta Falcons will replace Paul Soliai in 2016

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Atlanta's going to replace his production from within.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Soliai is a bit of a surprise cut, all things considered. He was a rock solid run stopper in 2015, and while he's also an awfully expensive one, the Falcons found plenty of use for him last year.

With Soliai getting the axe, the Falcons will have five defensive tackles under contract this coming year, and they figure to replace his snaps with players already in-house, even if they do add a defensive tackle in the draft. Let's take a look at who might

Grady Jarrett

Jarrett figures to be the biggest beneficiary, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN:

The Falcons liked what they saw from rookie Grady Jarrett in place of Soliai, and Jarrett's versatility and quickness should earn him more playing time moving forward. Quinn made it clear the team is looking to enhance the defensive line this offseason, whether it be via free agency or the draft.

Jarrett isn't the same kind of players as Soliai, but that's not a bad thing. He's a more capable pass rusher, but he also graded out very well against the run in his limited opportunities in 2015, and Atlanta would have a lighter, more flexible front with him on it in place of Soliai. That would seem to fit what Dan Quinn wants from his front, and I do believe we'll see Jarrett getting most of Soliai's snaps and essentially becoming a full-time starter in his second year.

Joey Mbu

The closest thing to a classic run stuffing, gigantic nose tackle on the roster with Tyson Jackson slimmed down and Ra'Shede Hageman as a question mark. Mbu's chances of making this roster are greatly improved by Soliai's release, and while you never can confidently forecast a second-year UDFA carving out a role at a relatively crowded position, I can see the Falcons developing Mbu to be a rotational piece on run downs. When he's active, he should take 5-10 snaps per game that once belonged to Soliai.

Tyson Jackson

It seems odd and perhaps wrong that Soliai will be cut and Tyson Jackson may well be here in 2016, but it's a distinct possibility. Jackson can move around the line a little bit more, at least, and you might see him occasionally anchoring the front four. Ideally Jackson will be a reserve and special teamer, albeit an expensive one.

Everyone's going to chip in, really, but Jarrett and perhaps Mbu figure to be the people who step up the most, and Jarrett in particular should be stepping into a major role I don't expect him to relinquish.