Opening day countdowns are great. So are player profiles. Here at Musket Fire, we decided to combine them and create a Week 1 countdown-oriented, jersey number-dictated player profile series. A few days ago, we looked at No. 80 Danny Amendola, and a few days before that it was No. 82 Josh Boyce. Because today marks 77 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling No. 77, offensive tackle Nate Solder.
After hosting him for a private workout with former Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, the Patriots drafted Solder with the No. 19 overall pick they received from the Oakland Raiders in the 2009 Richard Seymour trade. The tallest player on the Patriots’ roster at 6-foot-8, Solder has been a rock at left tackle for the Patriots in the past four seasons.
Not only has Solder protected Tom Brady’s blind side since Matt Light’s retirement, but he’s only missed one regular season start. In fact, Solder led all offensive players in the league with 1,234 snaps in the 2012 season.
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After a tumultuous start to the 2014 regular season, Solder eventually found his groove, and when he did, the Patriots were better. Of course, the highlight of Solder’s season was definitely his touchdown catch in the Divisional Round against the Baltimore Ravens. Goosebumps.
In April, it was reported that Solder was diagnosed with testicular cancer a year earlier. Solder missed a few weeks of offseason activities, but still started every regular season game.
He may struggle at times, but Patriots fans should feel fortunate to have Solder on the team. Left tackles like Solder are hard to come by.
In case you missed them, here are the profiles for No. 84 Brian Tyms, No. 85 Jake Bequette, No. 86 A.J. Derby, No. 87 Rob Gronkowski, No. 88 Scott Chandler, No. 90 Zach Moore, No. 91 Jamie Collins, No. 92 Malcom Brown, No. 93 Jabaal Sheard, No. 94 Chris jones and No. 95 Chandler Jones.
Check back on Musket Fire tomorrow morning as we celebrate 76 days until Week 1 by profiling No. 76, tackle Sebastian Vollmer.