FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Veteran offensive linemen Matt Light and Brian Waters showered Patriots rookie tackle Nate Solder with praise on Wednesday, praising New England's first-round pick for his work ethic and development.
Due to injuries to both Light and fellow tackle Sebastian Vollmer, Solder started 13 games while appearing in all 16 regular-season games during his rookie campaign. What's more, he often shuffled to third tight end to add bulk to a power rushing package.
"I think, No. 1, he’s just very talented athletically," said Light. "He gets it and with enormous size. I mean, the guy’s 6-foot-100, I don’t really know. He’s a rather large human being and he can move really well. And he really wants to finish each and every play. He wants to get better.
"He’s taken a lot of the coaching from, obviously, [offensive line coach] Dante [Scarnecchia], but also a lot of the guys around him. I think having a guy like Brian playing next to him [when at right tackle], has really done a lot to give him the confidence and the ability to go out there and see things a little bit -- maybe easier than it would have been having another guy next to him. Brian’s like an encyclopedia of this league, and what guys do up front. It’s been a great guy to have as a wing man for Nate."
Waters said all the credit goes to Solder.
"He’s as good as any young player that I’ve ever played with," said Waters. "He’s got an immense amount of talent and he does a great job of working hard and getting on the details. He’s never comfortable. He’s always trying, week by week, to get better. He’s always asking questions. He’s a good young football player, who has plenty of room to grow, who can turn into a really great one eventually."