Offensive tackle Nate Solder out of Colorado is currently in New York and rumored to possibly be visiting the New York Giants this week. With the Giants struggles on the offensive line last season, Solder could be a prospect Big Blue looks to take with the 19th pick.
Might Solder be standings in this line next year?
Solder is a solid tackle at 6'8 and 315 pounds. His size is definitely not a question when looking at his potential, although he could use a little more strength. Solder has a lot of upside. He's big, he's agile and has good balance, he can protect the edge and has lots of experience after playing five years at Colorado after red shirting his freshman year. He's got great football intelligence and awareness. He was the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the year and a finalist for the Outland Trophy and an All-Big 12 selection. He's a class act in the locker room, loved by his teammates and coaches
In his freshman year at Colorado, a season he didn't even play, his teammates selected him for the Special Teams Scout Award in recognition of his commitment and effort. He's got a great work ethic and he's a leader on and off the field.
Like all draft prospects, Solder has some downside as well. He's not very strong, he struggles to anchor his spot when blocking, he could be more aggressive, and he will still need some refining and polishing once he hits the NFL. The best thing about Solder's downside? It's all coachable and fixable. His strength can be remedied in the weight room and by playing against guys that are bigger than what he's used to. His struggles with aggressiveness and anchoring can be helped with professional coaching and getting knocked on his backside a few times. He'll figure it out when he's hit the ground more times than he cares to. And any player leaving college and entering the NFL is going to need some refining. It's all about reps and playing time.
The biggest concern facing Solder is that he gets upright too soon instead of staying low. He's a tall guy and his lack of power allows guys to get by him when his center of gravity is too high. Again, something that is coachable.
I watched some video of him from this past season and he typically lines up on the left. He consistently kept the quarterback's blind side safe and clear, but there were a few times he let a guy get by him. That's going to happen in any game, but he's got to learn how to stay on his block. You can see the anchoring problem when the edge rusher is smaller and faster than he is. Solder struggles to adjust his stance lower and keep faster guys out of the way. Even then, he uses his length to keep his hands on the rusher even if he can't stop him. When he lines up on the inside, he's a great rush blocker and often helps create holes for running backs to get through. He may not be able to push guys out of a running back's way, but he can throw them to the side and give the back just enough time to get through a hole.
At the end of last season, the Giants had three offensive lineman have surgery. All three are now rehabbing on their own instead of with the team facilities due to the lockout. With Rich Seubert being one of those players, the left side of the ball could be a question. Protecting the blind side of Eli Manning will be huge in reducing the number of interceptions thrown and sacks Manning takes. The Giants adjusted well last season, and I'm sure they are perfectly capable of doing it again, but it sure would be nice to have someone like Solder who can slide in to that position without hesitation. Big Blue definitely needs to answer some questions about the offensive line with their draft picks, and they need to do it early. Solder may or may not be available when the Giants get their first pick at 19, but if he is, he's definitely worth taking.Tags: Football, Nate Solder, New York Giants, NFL