Scouting Report: The Colorado Buffalos Nate Solder is the hot name among offensive tackles in this draft. That's due in large part to the lack of a true elite talent at the position this year. Solder is a very good football player. He's the most athletic guy at the position in the draft, and the best run blocker of the bunch. He does a very good job getting out and getting to the second level. He also uses his length pretty well in shielding off in a wall. He's a hard working player and is really pretty agile for a guy as big and tall as he is. But all that height works against him. He doesn't stay low enough, and he tends to work outside and gets beat inside as he's extended and cannot recover. Also, when you think about strength, and I am comparing him to the other top OT prospect Gabe Carimi here, he comes up short. He doesn't play with the attitude or intensity of Carimi and doesn't have the short range power of Carimi. What really saves Solder and what makes him more of a LT prospect is his speed and quickness. Very fast setting up and explosive in his slide. He shows plenty of potential to be a blind side protector in the NFL.
Draft Status: I think I am the only person who has Carimi ahead of Solder, but if you believe what you read, Solder is destined to be the first OT off the board. In this draft class with so much talent on defense that probably sticks him firmly into the middle of the first round, likely to a zone blocking scheme team.
Final analysis: I like Solder, I really do. But it's hard for me to gush about a guy who's not Jake Long or Joe Thomas. Those are elite guys. Solder is solid. He's got to get stronger, and he's got to get meaner and he's got to learn to make his height a positive instead of a negative. I think whatever team gets him is going to get a kid they can plug in at one tackle spot of or the other and get many seasons of rock solid play. But it feels like his potential isn't as high as some folks want you to believe. Good player, not elite. Not at all. Smart kid, hard worker, needs to be more physical and aggressive, but I suspect getting beat around in the league awhile will help get him in shape.
Reminds me of: Michael Roos OT Tennessee Titans. Both are big tall athletic guys who just come to work every day and do their jobs and really don't have a lot of fanfare. When I watch Roos I see a guy who's learned to make his height work for him and found a home in Tennessee. I think Solder can do something similar for whatever team drafts him.
Red Flags: None
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy