Nate Solder

OLT Colorado

6-8.25, 319, 35.5" Arms, 21 Reps, 

4.34 SS! , 9'2"! 7.44 3-C! 32" Vert,

S-1.61 (U)- 4.97 (U)- 5.05 Forties



Character, Smarts, and Versatility.



Alleluia! With the Lockout all but settled we can finally take the blinders off the side of our brains that hold our football fanaticism. Much to the relief, conservatively speaking, of half of my constituents I can start writing about football instead of politics;-) Life as we know it has changed, forever! Or at least 5 to 7 years depending on the length of the new CBA. Okay, the only real news that matters is that they have essentially agreed on the money split, and let's be honest guys this lockout was all about the money! With the split settle the rest is just housekeeping and how much freedom the players have. 


With the split settled, and the owners garnering a 3% Rake for all this nonsense, the rest is housekeeping and how much freedom the players have, and it looks like it is going to be a lot. Early reports so far have freedom awarded after 4 years. Plus, it looks like it is all going to start on Friday, barring any unforeseen shenanigans by the owners, who already tried to screw it all up last week with two new ridiculous amendments. Teams will be allowed to start talking to their own players come Friday at some time.  


Just in a quick note of cordiality. I have been Kraft-E-Kraft's biggest critic. However, I thought the most despicable thing I heard in this whole Lockout mess was despicable Owners cutting the salaries of their loyal and allegedly valuable middle class employee's. To his credit Kraft kept his employees on and fully employees, and didn't try and make a few despicable bucks off his employee's hardworking backs. So I just wanted to take back half of all the bad things I said about a real mench. 


Let the Chaos begin! 


Almost Post Lockout:


Now with the Lockout almost over, they will be having their first real meetings with BB, the OC, their position coach (Scarnecchia). It will be a whirlwind of language, contract talks, playbooks, and life. The Pats are in an odd position here, with a rookie OLT the likely starter. There is a chance that Kaczur could start at ORT and Vollmer at OLT. However, mostly likely it will be Solder and Vollmer as the starting O-Tackles. 


The good news about Solder is that he was a Tight End, so he has good feet and hands. Plus, TE has more experience blocking on both sides of the line. A guy who was a TE is going to have a better chance at being able to play both side. So Vollmer still could the OLT and Solder the ORT. Plus, Solder is, or rather was in college and I think will be once he is settled into the pro game, a better run blocker than Vollmer. The better run blockers usually play on the Right side. So you could see Vollmer swing over to the left side for a year or two. 


However, we all know how BB likes to throw rookie 1st round picks into the fire and see how they burn, like he did with Rising Star McCourty last year. I think it is okay to say that if Solders starts playing on the Left side early in Camp BB is satisfied that he can put it all together this season without killing Brady. That is the first thing I will be looking for this Preseason. 


He has some truly amazing measurables for a guy 6-8. He ran a ridiculous 4.34 Short Shuttle and a 7.34 3-Cone Drill. That shows almost unheard of feet and change of direction for such a tall guy. He also had a 32" Vert and a 9'2" broad jump, which shows impress power and explosion in his legs for a 319 pound guy. For some reason I forgot to put this up on my site. I think I was thinking that if the Lockout went bad it would be nice to have a little Patriots news to read this summer other than, 'The Lockout Sucks! Blah-blah-blah." 


My biggest criticisms of Solder came at the Senior Bowl, and giving up the inside rush. However, at Colorado he was a beast this past season. He played with power and passion. I don't know where this idea that he doesn't have power comes from. He is as physical a blocker as there is in this Draft. 


He had some of the most physical battle with Kerrigan and Jordan at the SB I've seen. Those two guys powered and rag dolled O-Linemen all week, but ran into a buzz saw when they met Solder. He was just as physical, rough, and tough as those two guys all week. He sometimes stayed a little to high, and got knocked back hard when he did. But when he gets low and gets his huge hands in a guys shirt, they are done. Plus, the most important thing about Solder's game is that he just doesn't get beat around the edge. He refuses to let guys turn the corner. It isn't always pretty as he is so tall and moving backwards, but he has such long arms, great feet, and amazing recovery balance that when he screws up he still makes just enough of a block to protect the QB's blindside. 


Because he played TE I think he is seen as a finesse blocker, and that is not his style. He can really get low and dig out D-Ends and D-Tackles. His ability to use his long arms to knock the D-linemen into the O-Guard's block, and then use his great feet to get on Linebackers is a huge plus. When he extends his arms and gets his huge hands into a guys shirt, he uses his great feet and lower base to really power guys backwards.


What makes him such a great prospect and what I saw over and over at the SB is how he recovers once he is beat. He also showed it on tape over and over again in 2010. His ability to use his long arms to grab shirt after he has been knocked backwards and faked with an inside move and then a mad dash to the edge is going to win him a lot of fans in Foxboro. 


Here are a couple on nice clips of Solder. Being a Natural Born genius I found a tape of him from 2009 and then from 2010 so you could see the progress he was making in just three short seasons as an OLT. Okay, so I picked that tapes by pure accident and didn't even realize the Missouri game was from 2009 until I was finished the 2010 tape and then watch the 2009 tape the first time (I actually finished the 2010 tape before I even noticed the Missouri tape was from 2009;-). However, the idea still works, you can see some massive improvements from 2009 to 2010. Especially in the second effort department. He was beaten a lot in 2009 by second efforts, but in 2010 he was dominate in the second and third effort, and like I have been saying since before the Draft he was the only O-Tackle who could stop Ryan Kerrigan's second efforts. So with no further ado:


Here is what I wrote on Solder in May and June:


The problem is that they have maneuvered themselves into a bit of a corner here. Solder looks like he will have to be a starter as a rookie. They could plug in Vollmer at OLT and Kazcur at ORT (if they keep him), but that won't last long. Their desperation for an O-Tackle is evident. Solder does have one advantage over the other guys. He was inside the Foxboro bunker when the Lockout was lifted. So he has his play book, and I'm sure a bunch of DVDs, training regiments, and critics by guys who know what their talking about (unlike certain Homer Pundits;-). he has been prepped and prepared to endure the criminally ridiculous Lockout. 


However, it is only May and he is already behind. Not only have they missed training sessions and OTA, and work outs, and meetings with coaches, coordinators, and position guys, they haven't started, and not start trying to find until the Lockout is over, a place to live. They have not settled into the region at all. By now he would at least be thinking about moving to Foxboro, or moving across the country, and I'm sure minimally have a list of apartments in the area from his Agent. So while he would be prepared for everything as Training Camp starts (no rookie really is), he would at least be somewhat settled into a place. 


Us old farts may not know much, but we know the thousands upon thousands of ridiculous little things that need to be done when you move. Do you remember the last time you moved, and how complicated and tiring it was? When the Lockout ends these rookies may have to pack up and move to their designated city in a day or two. Used normal circumstances that alone will takes weeks to get used to. They also don't have any money now and won't when the Lockout ends. They won't have contracts, and likely virtually no rookies will be in camp if the Lockout ends after Training Camp was suppose to begin, because they will have no contracts. 


So rookies coming into camp are already light years behind the veterans, and rookies this year will be light years behind normal rookies. Normal rookies have the meet and greet rookie camps, no rookie camps for you. Normal rookies have unlimited access to their position coaches, even if it is just online, no online chats with Scarnecchia for you. Normal rookies will have tow months of reading and questions for coaches while study their playbook before Camp starts, so they can at least understand some of the language and their responsibilities, no understanding for you. That two months of study is vital, the brain can only input so much information before it gets ahead ache, no learning curve for you. No home. No paychecks. No familiarity with Massachusetts. No friends in the area. No contact with teammates. No comfort level at all.     

Nate Solder 2009:

The reason he was drafted is because of his combination of size, long arms, strong hands, and quick feet. When a guy his size can play with his hands up, arms extended, and feet that can dance with any bear, he will be a great pass protector. He is probably a better run blocker right now, because of his technical flaw of giving up the inside rush. He has great power in the Running game. You have to remember he played at Colorado, primarily a run blocking offense. If a prospect plays O-Line at Colorado the one thing you know for sure is that he can run block, and Solder is a beast in running game. He consistently powers D-End straight backward, or straight to the side so the OG can pick him up, and then he moves off the D-End and into the LB so smoothly it is amazing 


This is a great block here. Aldon Smith tries the inside move, and he doesn't sit back, he attacks. Smith gets a little tangled in the clutter inside, but the most important thing is that Solder stoned him on the inside move, which is Smith's strength and Solder's weakness. This is a bad match up for Solder (0:00). this is a real nice pull to his left. He whiffs on the DB, but gets in the way just enough. This really shows his experience as a tight end and how he can Pull to the left with nice speed and agility. This is the kind of play he will be making in the Pats defense a lot (0:18). He does a  good job stoning the D-End, but the QB gets flushed from the pocket and almost runs into the DE (0:29). Great feet in the Kickstep. Watch his feet as he drops back, beautiful. However, his hands are a little wide, and if you try and cut block Smith, you damn well better hit his legs, like I said this is not the best match up for Solder (0:41). 


He shows nice patience out on the edge here. He keeps perfect position and allows the blitzer to come to him, and then gets his hands up and into his shirt (0:50). He tries to pick up the blitzer who jumps inside him, but just can't quite get their. That is a real tough block, and it looks like the defender read the play before it happened (1:03). He has a great burst off the line, but doesn't grab onto his shirt as well as he should. The D-Tackle catches him lunging a little and Spins off his block nicely. This is such a great example of why he is such a good prospect. In 2009, his second year as a starter. The D-Lineman wins the second effort contest. In 2010, he consistently won the second and third effort contests (1:14). 


Nice block on the middle Screen. He does a good job sealing the D-End initially, but he lets him dance around his block (1:22). He gets beat by the inside move by Smith (1:31). This is a trickeration play, and his job is to get out to the middle of the field and block any LB who tries to come back on the reverse. It looks a little awkward at 1sr, but this is what he was coached to do, and he picks up the LB in space who reads the reverse and takes him out (1:41). He lets the outside guy past him, but Chips down on the D-End, like he was coached to do. Then he gets out into the Linebacker's cutback lane, and makes a great block (1:55). You have to remember this is a reverse and is not blocked like a normal run, and he plays it perfectly.


That is as good a pass block as you will ever see. Feet moving, hands inside the numbers, and he blocked him for over 7 seconds. That is as good an example of why BB drafted him as you are going to see (2:05). He gets caught lunging on the play action. This is a terrible block, but the play action block is a tough block, especially for a guy who hasn't played O-Line for long. You have to try and sell the run, without giving up too much position on the edge, and he gave up everything here when he lunged (2:05). This is my favorite block of the tape. The D-End tries the inside move, Solder's weakness, and Solder punches him right in the neck and he is done. That is as good a counter to an inside move as you will see (2:27). Even in 2009 he just didn't give up the Corner (2:36). 


He just knocks the D-End back to the Goal line on 1st and Goal from the 3! That is as good a power block as you will see on the goal line, period (2:48). He gets torched by the inside move by Aldon Smith (2:58). He is patient in his kickstep. Aldon comes looking for a hand fight, and he lunges with his hands. This is isn't just a bad play, it is a dumb play (3:05). Not the Corner though. He just doesn't get beat around the Corner  (3:14). He stands up which is worrisome. If he does that in the NFL he will get Brady Killed. The good news is that it is such a anomaly for him that it really stood out. It turns into one of his best blocks of the day however. He waits and doesn't lunge at all. He gets his hands on D-End and stones him at the line, then D-Tackle breaks to the outside in some kind of delay Stunt? This is the great part. He punches the outside D-End into the OG, and gets outside and gets his hands on the DT and stones him as well (3:25). He just stones Aldon Smith in the pass rush. That is as good as pass block as you are going to see. His hands and feet working together in balance perfectly. That is how you teach pass blocking (3:35).  


He just gets beat by the great inside Swim move, which is the only real weakness he show at the Senior Bowl (3:48). He recovers just enough to stop the nice Edge rush. Patience and position. He keeps his feet moving and hands up and waits for Smith to come to him (3:58). Finally, a great example of him stoning the inside move. He uses a nice shoulder punch to jolt Smith, and then gets his hands on Smith, and stones him on the inside move (4:07). Just doesn't give up the Corner when he uses his great hands and feet in combination with balance (4:17). He picks up and stones Aldon Smith on the Stunt (4:27). Protects the Corner like no one in this Draft. However, he actually losses his balance at the end, which happens so rarely that it is surprising (4:37). 



Nate Solder 2010:


He comes off the line Low and fast and drives Jordan right into his OG's block. But what I really like about this block is how he slides off so smoothly and into the ILB and just takes him out. This plays shows terrific power not just on one block but on two (0:03). Another terrific block. He attacks the OLB in the play action and stones him dead right at the LOS, remember Cal plays a 3-4. Then keeps his pass blocking in place. That is not easy to do. The more you sell run, sometimes the more trouble you get into, He not only goes to far in the  run block, but transitions back to the pass block so smoothly the OLB is defeated before he ever gets a chance to rush the QB (0:14). 


This is a great example of him getting beat off the initial move and somehow recovering just enough to protect his QB. The little guy beats him with a speed move to the edge, but he uses his great feet and long arm to somehow get his hands on him and slows him just enough so the QB can make the throw (1:57).  (0:14). When he plays and stays low he has terrific power. He knocks the D-End straight back almost to the first down marker on 3rd and 1 (2:11). Patience feet and kickstep. This is as technically perfect a pass protection drop as you will see in college. I especially loves how he doesn't lunge, he doesn't give up position, he shows the patience of Job waiting for the rusher to come to him, and once he gets his great hands in the guy the defender is done (2:22). 


Oops, just when I start bragging. Again, perfect kickstep, he never gives up the Corner. However, sometime in his zeal to protect the Corner, he over-drops and gives up the inside. In his defense though, if the QB doesn't scramble his man does touch him, but this showed his primary weakness that he showed at the SB (2:37). Okay, it's a bad play, It's a horrible play, he sucks;-) However, what his feet and kickstep, with his hands up. If you want to teach someone what a kick step-step looks like this is it. I (am not a Homer) am more encouraged buy this play (I am not a Homer), then most others (I am not a Homer), because he is so technically perfect in his kick step (Okay, so I'm a Homer, bite me 2:49;-). Another nice double block. He does a great job taking Cameron Jordan out of the play, and gets out to he LB nicely, but the ILB just had to good an angle for him to stop (2:58). 


Just a pure power block. He knocks the big D-End past the 1st down marker (3:07). Amazing, athleticism and quickness. He hits the inside blitzer on the double blitzes and gives up the Corner. A delayed blitz by the DB (the second blitzer charges to the QB, and he somehow gets back out to the Corner, and after stone the inside blitzer, and gets out and hits the DB the outside blitzer who is a DB blitz with 4.5 speed (3:18). He punches the OLB, and still gets back outside and protects the corner. He gets beat by the Spin move off the shove of the RB, but it really was and amazing drop (3:28). He gets knock up a little high, but recovers and starts moving the D-End backwards (3:38). Again perfect technique in pass protection. Notice how once he gets his big mitt on the rusher he does let go even when the QB scrambles forward and he has to slide back down towards the LOS (3:48). 


Again, in short yardage he drive his guy past the 1st marker (4:01). Again, he is beat, recovers, and then adjusts again the counter move to his counter move (4:11). Perfect form again. A little high and he needs to punch before he grabs, but great feet and hands (4:23). 


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Patriots Draft Blog 2009

Patriots Draft Blog 2008

Patriots Draft Blog 2007