Possesses good range off the edge despite the fact at times he is forced to open up his hips. However, I would like to see him do a better job keeping his hands up and set on his kick-slide and be ready to punch at any time. Too often gets his hands down around his waist and struggles to anchor and fight off undersized defensive ends who want to get under him when flattening out around the edge. However, can sit into his stance vs. the bull rush, does a nice job working his arms/hands for inside leverage, slides his feet well through contact and can stick to blocks through the play.
Now, he is a gifted athlete in space and showcased better pop and power as a run blocker than given credit. Has the ability to sit into his stance, gain leverage into contact, extend his arms and finish with a strong lower body push. Can consistently drive defenders off the ball as an in-line guy one-on-one, but at times will get overextended and fall off blocks after initial contact. Looks natural on the move as well and has the ability to get into blocks quickly and create a bit of a surge at the point of attack. Breaks down well in space, exhibits some short-area quickness and can routinely seal his target.
Impression: A guy who will likely be over drafted based on upside — and rightfully so, as he has the skill set to be as good as he wants to be in the NFL. However, has a lot of cleaning up to be entrusted as a left tackle early in his NFL career and I could see him being better suited to play on the right side because of his ability to win in the run game. Reminds me some of former second-round pick Sebastian Vollmer."
Run Blocking: Very willing and able run blocker on the edge with exceptional mobility for his size. Good get-off and upper-body strength allows him to latch onto defensive ends and stand-up defenders and take them out of the play. Despite his height, he plays with leverage at the point of attack and can widen his base to anchor. Nimble and quick, he seals his edge easily, gets out in front of screens well, and can block multiple defenders to wall off the back side. Quicker defenders can get under his pads, however, and disengage to move down the line and stop inside runs.
Pulling/Trapping: Does not work behind the line very often from the left tackle spot, but his combination of size and mobility should allow him to do so at the next level. Effective getting around the tight end to take out targets on the outside. Can drop his hips to negate defenders at the second level. Has flexibility to get his hands on the inside defender, though his height can make it difficult to stay with smaller, quicker defenders when he doesn't first lock on.
Initial Quickness: Gets off the snap fairly well for his size, but is inconsistent with his kick-slide and hand quickness, which could cause problems for him against better NFL ends. Able to deliver a pop as a drive blocker, stopping defensive ends in their tracks or even pushing his man off the line of scrimmage.
Downfield: Exceptional feet and agility make him a threat to take out defenders in space. Very quick getting to the second and third levels. Locates targets well downfield, keeps his feet moving to gain the correct angle and hands strong and active to latch onto linebackers and move them out of the play. Will throw a shoulder into a defender at times instead of sustaining the block.
Intangibles: Owns the work ethic to become a Pro Bowl offensive tackle. In the spring of 2009, he was awarded the John Wooten Award for outstanding work ethic and the offensive line's Iron Buffalo Award for hard work, dedication, toughness and total poundage lifted in the weight room. Needs to become more of a vocal leader on the field, though he does play with attitude and competitiveness and is not afraid to go through the whistle and talk to defenders on the field. Very good student, had a 3.93 GPA in high school and was one of 16 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes in 2010. Brother, John, played linebacker at Stanford."
Movement: Unlike most tackles, Solder is used on the move quite a bit. He's good pulling on the run and can effortlessly move to the far side of the line. Is good attacking on the second level. Has the footwork and straight-line speed to make blocks deep down the field.
Pass blocking: Likes to take a wide step to the outside to beat speed rushers to the corner. Uses his long arms to really drive pass rushers out of the play. Will struggle at times to turn to his right to block the inside rush after his kick slide. However, Solder is quick reset his feet in pass protection so this discrepancy should coachable. The other coaching point Solder will face is rising high out of his stance. When he does, Solder gets move around by linemen who are strong and quick.
Quickness: The first step Solder has is one of the better ones in this year's class. He's quick moving to the outside in pass protection. In the run game, Solder comes off the snap with good pace.
Run blocking: Most look at Solder's tall frame and consider him solely a pass blocker. Not so. If anything, Solder is a better run blocker than most give him credit for. He's strong in his arms and chest and uses that power to neutralize defenders.
Strength: Solder has deceptive strength despite possessing a frame that would make you think otherwise. Is especially strong in his upper body. You can tell Solder improved his strength between his junior and senior seasons. In 2009, Solder got pushed around, but he became more stout in 2010. Has a long frame that will support considerably more bulk.
Technique: This is the area where Solder needs to improve. He doesn't have good follow through technique in pass protection. That's to mean he gets good initial hand placement but doesn't maintain throughout the play. Solder isn't always fluid in his shuffle and tends to get sloppy in his footwork. Needs to come off the snap low to maintain leverage. The term sitting in chair as a blocker rarely applies to Solder.
Final word: A converted tight end, Solder remains a work in progress as a blocker. His technique is extremely raw and he'll need a lot of refinement. With that, it's surprising Solder has been as good as he's been. A first team AP All-American in 2010, Solder has more upside than any early round lineman in this year's draft."
He was a relatively unheralded three-star recruit coming out of Buena Vista, Colorado, and actually started his college career as a tight end.
Solder has terrific potential at either offensive tackle spot.
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.
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"
Positive: Athletic offensive tackle prospect with terrific size and upside potential. Bends his knees, blocks with leverage, and stays square. Keeps his feet moving, displays solid footwork in pass protection, and has the ability to slide out and adjust to defenders. Agile, nimble, and moves well on his feet. Gets out to the second level, redirects well to linebackers, and removes them from the action. Makes good use of angles and will adjust to knock pass rushers from the action.
Negative: Gets marginal movement run blocking and at times struggles turning lesser opponents from the action. Really does not play with a nasty attitude.
Analysis: Solder improved the past two seasons after moving from tight end to offensive tackle. He possesses the athleticism to be used on the blind side and offers the size and growth potential to eventually be starting at right tackle in the NFL. He comes with great upside but will need time to develop his game before he'll be ready to break into a starting lineup on the NFL level."
Negatives: Inconsistent knee bend... Footwork needs a little work... Choppy overly compact kick slide... Rises too early in pass protection... Will occasionally lean and overextend... Gets beat by good inside moves... Will allow his technique and footwork to get sloppy... Gets too upright when run blocking... Not especially strong at POA... Needs to add some bulk to rangy and over-tall frame... Lacks a great anchor, can be walked back... Inconsistent balance... Was kind of a project coming into the 2010 season."
Strengths: Huge athlete; massive frame and wingspan. Only has 7% body fat, highly unusual for a man his size. Quick and strong, and has the feet to play left tackle. Plays with a wide base and drops smoothly in pass protection, and is almost impossible to run around. Has learned to bend his knees and play much lower than in prior seasons, and his game has improved considerably. Gets movement off the ball as a run blocker, and can run and reach the second level.
Weaknesses: Not as physically dominating as a man his size should be; more of a technician at this point. Needs to add more muscle to his massive frame, and needs to play with more of an attitude.
Projection: Arguably the top tackle prospect in the nation and undoubtedly a first-round pick. Has the tools to become a dominating LT, particularly in pass protection."
Solder immediately stepped into the starting role at left tackle and did not miss a snap the entire 2008 season. While there was some time needed to adjust to the position, it was a pretty smooth transition since he spent most of his time blocking as a tight end anyway. The 2009 season continued to cement Solder's status as a superb offensive tackle. For his efforts, Solder was the only offensive lineman who was not a senior to make the All-Big 12 First-Team. That led to many preseason accolades heading into the 2010 season and Solder has been a rock in the offensive line and continues to get bigger and stronger.
Solder has everything one could want from an offensive lineman. He is strong and quick and has gone up against some of the nation's best defensive ends in the Big 12. A talent like his will not fall past the first two rounds of the draft."
There are not many men on planet earth who measure at 6’9”, tip the scales at 300 pounds and can run a forty-yard dash in under five seconds. Mr. Solder is one of those rare men. This Buffalo began his college career as an in-line blocking tight end, but once coaches realized his feet were better than his hands—and he put on about 30 pounds—the Colorado staff made the wise move to shift Solder inside to offensive tackle following his red-shirt freshman year. Not just tackle, but left tackle…and he was superb from the get-go, recording a team-high 69 knockdown blocks and allowing just one sack the entire season.
The Buena Vista, Colorado native’s incredibly light feet and outstanding size combine to make him one of the more unique offensive linemen in the nation. Off the field Solder is the complete package—a bright young man with numerous academic honors who is admired for his work ethic and character. While the left tackle is body beautiful that does not mean that he is done sculpting that body. The prototypical weight for an offensive tackle is around 330-335 pounds and that’s at about 6’6” or 6’7”. It is clear that at just 300 pounds Solder lacks the type of bulk that most premier offensive linemen possess at the next level. With a stellar senior campaign, that is if Solder can progress both mentally and physically, this Buffalo could stampede right into the top 15 of the 2011 NFL Draft."
Nate Solder is a phenomenal athlete ~ he's a converted Tight End ~ but it hasn't all translated to FootBall, as yet.
The Lateral Agility and Flanking Speed is definitely there, and the Power to Drive the Run Game + Strength to Anchor against the Pass Rush is decent, with good reason to expect improvement, as is his Crouch. It's his Mechanics, above all, that concern me. He has all the tools to develop into an exceptional O Tackle, don't get me wrong. But I get the strong sense that he'll disappoint.
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