Hampton's performance last season was very underwhelming, IMO. And for some reason, Chris Hoke's '04 season always makes me think he would be more than capable of being the NT again - and a good one - if necessary. Has Hoke's play deteriorated and I just haven't noticed it, or was he never as good as I thought he was that season?
Hoke is an overachiever. He doesn't have the speed, quickness, or dominating potential of the big-time interior guys like Hamp, Williams, Wilfork, etc. But he works/plays his arse off (as he did in '04) and just gets the job done. As good as Hampton CAN be? No. But he is still a very good and undervalued player.
My frustration with your point is this: Why do we not see Hoke more often? Either at NT or DT, because he could play both, IMO.