Paul Soliai   DT   Utah
 
STRENGTHS 
Paul is a big, powerful and athletic DT.  He is a run stuffing DT who has very good lateral agility to string plays out inside the hash marks.  He is very strong; I believe he can lift a building.  Paul uses his hands well and keeps the offensive lineman away from his body.  He could play the nose guard position or a DT position in a 4-3 defense.  Paul will give you a good push on the passing downs and with his height, will cause a lot of problems for QBís to throw over the middle when he gets that push.  Paul will have to be double teamed at the next level for your offense to be successful against him.  Itís just that simple.  He has the strength and talent to build your defense around him.  He has a lot of the same abilities as Haloti Nagata did coming out in last yearís draft.
 
NEEDS TO IMPROVE
There is a hidden character issue that no one will report or talk about.  Paul was suspended from his bowl game for unspecified team rules violations.  I donít know what that means and I havenít been able to find out.  All players the size of Paul will have problems with their physical stamina and that, more than anything will be what he needs to improve the most to stay on the field and impact.  At this point of his career I donít think that Paul is a very hard worker because he has the talent to be a 1-gap or 2-gap DT, but he seems to be happy just stuffing the run as a 2 gap DT. 
 
TALENT BOARD ROUND: 5
I have this standing rule for a DT.  That rule is - ďIf you can lift a building, then you can play football for me!Ē  Itís just that simple!  Players like Paul have so much talent and the game comes so easy to them that you are bound to have some maturity issues.  Everything has been handed to him and comes easy.  Iím guessing that whatever Paul did to piss his coaches off, it is a correctable character flaw and nothing that would warrant not drafting this kid or even downgrading him much for this draft.  When I did a search on Paul, there was nothing other then him being suspended from his bowl game.  Now Iím not suggesting this is nothing?  Iím suggesting that it is a warning, but how severe the warning, I donít know.  Hopefully he has learned a lesson and realizes that he did something that was embarrassing to himself, his college, his teammates and his parents.  Hopefully, the coach has done him a favor and helped him to straighten out before he did something that was worse.  Paul will start for your team right away and you can use him in any style of defense.  He has good enough feet to handle a 1-gap defense or 2-gap defense.  He can be a nose guard in a 3-4 defense and he can pass rush by pushing the pocket.  My guess is that after Paul works ou,t he will move up at least into a draftable round.  The question with this kid is, is he coachable and can he be more than just a rotation or two down DT?  He has the talent.  Maybe when he works out and gets interviewed, he will move up into the first day.  It would not surprise me.  I do know this -- he will play and impact in his first year just by helping a team as a run stuffer alone.  If this kid can grow up a little and start to work at playing football, then he could be a hell of a football player.  Either way, he is worth a late round look-see and definitely worth a free agent contract.  You take a chance late in the draft and see what you got!    

Drew Boylhart

March/2007