Patriots Draft Pick Analysis: Nate Solder
With the 17th pick of the first round, the New England Patriots selected Colorado OT Nate Solder. Solder’s size, versatility, and skill set made him the Patriots’ top pick of the draft, and was obviously the best tackle on their board. Solder was voted the best offensive lineman in the Big 12 this past season. The only offensive linemen drafted ahead of Solder were Mike Pouncey, plays guard or center, and OT Tyron Smith. Solder can play either left tackle or right tackle, though Belichick said in his press conference after the first round concluded that Solder will play left tackle. He could be given a season or two to develop and provide depth should the Patriots elect to re-sign Matt Light, who is a free agent.
In an interview with ESPN’s Mike Tirico, Solder said that he was, “hoping and praying” he would be a Patriot, and he got his wish. He also noted that he had a late workout with the team on Monday. You can watch the prospect video from Patriots.com HERE. Karen Guregian wrote a nice article on Solder this past Saturday for the Boston Herald and you can check that out HERE. I really like this pick. The Patriots got a potential franchise left tackle around the middle of the draft, and addressed an important need. There few things, if any, more important than keeping Tom Brady upright. Solder should help them do that.
Here is what NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has to say about the Patriots’ selection of Nate Solder:
“To me, he’s one of the most gifted tackles I’ve seen in the last couple of years from a foot-technique perspective. However, I think he’s underpowered. He has a tremendously high ceiling. It makes sense form a left tackle perspective, because it gives Bill Belichick the ultimate flexibility in his offensive line.”
Here is the pick analysis from NFL.com:
Bill Belichick picks a possible successor for Matt Light at left tackle. Solder has all of the tools to develop into a premier player at the position, and his development could help the Patriots solidify Tom Brady’s protection for the foreseeable future. Although the team must address their defensive issues along the front, the opportunity to pick a franchise-caliber tackle at this point of the draft is an outstanding value selection.
And here’s the pre-draft analysis on Solder:
Solder is one of the premier left tackle prospects in this class with the size, strength and athleticism needed to succeed on Sundays. Very sound in pass protection, not as susceptible to the bull rush as you might think given his leaner build, just needs to continue to develop his game against complete pass rushers with a vast array of skills and moves. Very complete in the running game as well, firing off the ball, gaining leverage and moving his feet inline and in space. Understands assignments, locates his man at the second level or on the edge and recognizes and reacts to blitz packages. A true first-round talent.