- Mike Reiss, ESPN New England Patriots reporter
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In the days leading up to the NFL draft, ESPNBoston.com will identify players who project as solid fits for the Patriots:
Player: Nate Solder
Position: Offensive tackle
Listed height/weight: 6-foot-8 1/4, 319 pounds
Scouts Inc. rank: No. 3 at offensive tackle (scouting report)
Draft projection: First round
Why he’s on our list: A team captain, he has impressive size and athleticism that makes him a candidate to become a franchise-type left tackle. The Patriots’ left tackle the last 10 seasons, Matt Light, is a free agent.
Recommended link: Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post writes on Solder’s decision to switch from tight end to offensive tackle.
Key stat: Allowed five sacks and 21 pressures in 1,400 career passing plays.
Workout stat: Bench-pressed 21 times, which isn’t as high of a number as one would anticipate from a player his size.
Steve Muench of Scouts Inc.: “Some felt like he didn’t have a good Senior Bowl and that he lacks a killer instinct as a blocker. But I disagree with both. When you watch him on film, he has a nastiness about him. Colorado was not a top team, but it didn’t affect the way he played. When they got down in games, and they weren’t in contention late in the season, he still performed at a high level. I like how tenacious and strong he is. He can play with better leverage at times, but he’s 6-foot-8, so it’s always going to be hard for him to sink and get under guys. The best news for him is how well he moves for a guy his size. In 2006, he was a 230-pound tight end in high school. He’ll always be quick and athletic enough to cover up a defender and create that seam, and offensive line coaches will take that all day.”
In the days leading up to the NFL draft, ESPNBoston.com will identify players who project as solid fits for the Patriots:Player: Nate SolderSchool: ColoradoPosition: Offensive tackleListed height/weight: 6-foot-8 1/4, 319 poundsScouts Inc.