Nose Tackle is quickly becoming a big time need for us. I like Mclendon, but don't think you can count on him as a full time starter unless he makes a big time jump again this year.
By all accounts he is an animal in the weight room. He apparently is a very hard worker in the film room as well. Mclendon recently told Wexell that he weighs 320lbs.
With Hampton's knee requiring surgery, he is a goner. The Steelers can't wait to see if he will be healthy enough by camp. This will have been his third ACL injury.
Nose Tackle will be addressed by the draft or outside the draft. I think there are two really intriguing options to pursue if we can clear some cap space.
Paul Soliai (MIA) - NT
A very good NT with the Dolphins. I think him and Mclendon could form a very formidable duo at the position. I also don't think he will break the bank. Like Hampton he is a pure run stopper. He had 27 combined tackles this year with no sacks.
Aubrayo Franklin (NO) - NT
After generating very little interest in FA last year, he signed a one year deal with the Saints. He is a very capable 3-4 NT, and was franchised at least once with the 49'ers because he was that good of a run stuffer. I do not think he will generate a ton of interest in Free Agency again this year.
I only see two early round options in the draft for a potential NT with Chapman blowing an ACL:
Dontari Poe- He is a sure fire first rounder and should be in range. He could be our own version of Ngata in 2 years.
Alamad Ta'amu His is less of a sure thing, and is looking more and more like a 2nd rounder.
This is becoming a bigger and bigger need.