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Projecting Starters - Defensive Tackle Edition

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CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 16:  Donovan McNabb #5 of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Israel Idonije #71 of the Chicago Bears and Stephen Paea #92 at Soldier Field on October 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 16: Donovan McNabb #5 of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Israel Idonije #71 of the Chicago Bears and Stephen Paea #92 at Soldier Field on October 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Our Projecting Starters series has covered the safety and linebacker positions so far, and now its time to turn to the defensive line. With two of our top four defensive tackles gone, the race for the starting positions comes down to three players: Stephen Paea, Matt Toeaina, and Henry Melton. Toeaina and Melton combined for 27 out of a possible 32 starts at the tackle position, with the departed Anthony Adams (five starts) and Amobi Okoye (one start) making up the difference.

Henry Melton, barring injury, is entrenched as the team's starting three-technique tackle after a solid 2011 campaign (7 sacks, 23 QB pressures), but the nose tackle position is a two-man race between the promising Paea and the steady Toeaina. Les broke down the tackle position here for a complete look back at how the tackles performed in 2011.