2011 NFL Draft Player Profile | Nate Solder
We’ve touched upon the lack of high-quality depth in terms of offensive line prospects in the 2011 NFL Draft class in some of our other profiles, but Colorado’s Nate Solder may be an exception.
He was a relatively unheralded three-star recruit coming out of Buena Vista, Colorado, and actually started his college career as a tight end.
He redshirted in 2006, and played in all 13 games (with four starts) in 2007. He then added 30 pounds to his frame prior to the 2008 season, when he was moved to offensive tackle.
Solder quickly assumed the starting left tackle spot and started every game from 2008-2010. He was named 2010 Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Player Name: Nate Solder
Height: 6’8 1/4
Arm: 35 1/2
Hand: 9 7/8
At 6’9″, Solder will already be one of the biggest players in the league upon entering the NFL. He’s a very good athlete for his size, and moves laterally very well. He’s solid in both pass and run blocking, and does a good job of staying in front of his man. Solder’s size helps to make him a good drive blocker, and can get to the second level of the defense and take down linebackers and defensive backs in pursuit. Even if he’s initially beaten around the edge, his arm length and quickness can still be enough to redirect the defender away from the backfield. He has a reputation as a very hard worker, and has nice technique on his chop step to the outside, as well.
At 315 pounds, Solder could stand to put on some weight in order to fill out his lanky-looking frame. He’s still relatively inexperienced at the position, and his technique could use some touching up. At times, he rises too quickly in pass protection, which gives defenders better leverage at the point of attack. He’s susceptible to quick inside moves, and can be beaten right off the snap from time to time. Solder’s footwork is relatively unrefined, which makes his balance a bit shaky. He needs to do a better job of bending his knees in order to lower his center of gravity and make up for his height. He’s still very raw, overall.
Given his tremendous physical tools and potential, Solder seems likely to be taken anywhere between the mid first and early second round. As mentioned above, he still has plenty of room to improve, and has the potential to develop into the anchor of an offensive line once he does. He may need to start his career as a right tackle until he gets adjusted to the nature and speed of the NFL. In his first three-round mock draft, Keet Bailey has Solder going 34th overall to the Buffalo Bills.
NFL Player Comparison: Tony Boselli