2011 Draft Profiles: OT – Nate Solder
Age: 22 years old
Experience: Senior (5 years)
Starts at LT: 36 games
Starts at TE: 4 games
Height: 6 feet 8 inches
Weight: 319 lbs.
Arm Length: 35.5 inches
Hand Width: 9.88 inches
Projection: Left Tackle
Projected Round: 1st Round
Combine Results (Pro Day Results)
40 Yard Dash: 5.05 seconds
3-Cone Drill: 7.44 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.34 seconds
Bench Press: 21 reps
Vertical Jump: 32.0 inches
Broad Jump: 110 inches
Speed: Solder was one of the fastest offensive linemen in the draft. This essentially confirms the general opinion regarding Solder’s biggest strength. Solder is a converted Tight End (along the same vein as Brody Eldridge), who utilizes his speed to a large degree to compensate for inexperience and physical deficiencies. Solder is an eager and exceptionally effective lead blocker because of his field vision and speed. He was not asked to function as a pull/trap blocker, but he has the necessary speed to thrive. Despite being a 3 year starter at left tackle, he still portrays some of the tight end characteristics that defined him as a freshman.
Agility: Solder had the fastest short shuttle time of all OTs at the combine and had the third fastest 3-cone drill time. While Castonzo was nearly two-tenths of a second faster at the 3-cone drill, Solder still recorded a time that was nearly a half second faster than most other OT prospects. Like Solder’s straight line speed, most scouting reports are very high on Solder ability to move laterally. Part of the reason that Solder is considered one of the top tier pass blocking prospects is because he is able to stay with even elite pass rushers. With a trend towards faster pass rushers, the speed Solder exhibits is a very significant skill. Early in the Senior Bowl, Solder showed a propensity to over run his mark, getting over balanced as edge rushers would cut inside, catching Solder out of position.
Experience: Solder is a three-year starter at left tackle after being converted from tight end following his redshirt-freshman year. Since that conversion, Solder played in 2,540 of a possible 2,542 snaps (1,400 of which were passing plays). One of the biggest reasons for the hype surrounding Solder stems from his unbelievable track record protecting the QB during his collegiate career. Over those 1,400 passing plays Solder only allowed 5 sacks and 21 pressures. This is partially due to the lesser talent he played against, but he did play a number of games against better teams, such as USC, Oklahoma, and California in 2010. Solder also has a very impressive work ethic. He was awarded as a true-freshman for excellence and commitment while participating as a game scout and special teams blocker. He received other team awards for dedication over his career, and managed to bulk up from 245-pounds as a high school graduate to his combine weight of 319-pounds. He also went from being a receiving tight end to a blocker, and continued to work on improving his blocking technique.
Size/Build: At over 6’8 (He officially measured in at 6 feet, 8 and a quarter inches), Solder is still at least 20 lbs below his best weight for his frame while still remaining exceptionally athletic. Solder does not have particularly impressive upper body strength though, as his pathetic bench press score would indicate. In fact, his combine results mirror some of the larger tight ends from this year’s combine. As it happens, his results across the board follow the same pattern of Colts 2010 5th round selection Brody Eldridge. Eldridge was a converted tight end who played along the offensive line at Oklahoma during his college career and ended up being an exceptional in-line blocker for the Colts. Like Eldridge, Solder had impressive vertical jump, broad jumps with a disappointing indicating very good lower body strength with suspect arm strength. Solder would do well adding bulk for no other reason than to help add a greater base and supplement his less impressive arm strength.
Pass Blocking: Solder is one of the highest rated pass protectors in the draft due to his solid base and exceptional speed and agility. He shows good vision of the field while also being able to move laterally with defensive ends. He has strong enough legs to set his feet and fight back against more head on attacks. Solder has gone through a serious bout of negative reviews based upon the first half of the Senior Bowl. There, Solder’s speed was used against him as defensive ends faked an outside rush then quickly cut back inside, thus catching Solder off balance. The reviews continued to be negative despite coming back in the second half and being very dominant. Like all of the very tall prospects at offensive tackle, Solder is susceptible to being leveraged by squatter defensive ends and linebackers. Generally, Solder was able to push defensive ends off their line and behind the QB when he gets leveraged. Solder is also a good screen blocker, moving past defenders to set screens very effectively.
Run Blocking: Solder is a different type of run blocker than Gabe Carimi, who utilizes excellent upper body strength along with a superb base to drive defenders off the line. Solder lacks the arm strength to control a defender with his hands, but he has exceptional leg strength, allowing him to get good push on the line. Solder also has one of the biggest wingspans for offensive line prospects, allowing him to engage multiple defenders in a single block. Solder also is a very enthusiastic blocker at the second level. He makes good initial blocks with enough presence to move down field to continue blocking for cutback routes. If a team can harness Solder’s natural drive to excel and direct it towards improving his upper body strength, he has the technique to become a very successful run blocker. In spite of his height, Solder is generally credited for being a very technically sound blocker with good placement of his hands to fully utilize his lower body strength.
Health: Solder did not miss any games during his collegiate career due to injury. He is not currently injured, nor has he had any injuries listed over the past six years. He is considered a durable tackle, but due to his leaner build it is always a concern. Bulking up will help lessen any fears for his ability to stay healthy.
OVERVIEW: Solder has fallen out of popular consideration for the Colts by fans. Generally, offensive linemen are nearly invisible except with they screw up, and the Senior Bowl performance Solder put up in the first half has convinced numerous people he is not a viable prospect for the Colts. Not many saw his second half performance, which was actually a rather dominant outing. In games where Solder was considered to have “failed” when faced up against elite talent, he tended to get blamed for failings by the QB to have any type of pocket presence. Solder is a very driven prospect who ends up comparing to current Colts tight end Brody Eldridge in numerous categories. While fans are generally down on Solder as a prospect, he fits the type of guy the Colts like. High driven, very sound technically who plays very smart, and has a good grasp of blocking schemes. Given the success of Brody Eldridge as an impromptu offensive tackle, Solder comes across as a guy that Chris & Bill Polian may get a very good feeling about and take regardless of how his stock rises or falls come April.
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At the moment, I am just like every other dedicated Colts fan (I'm anxious for the season, and tired of the lack of news). On a personal note though, I am a Purdue student who happens to have a desire to write and a fairly deep passion for the Colts and statistics. As such, I am basically a troll. I have been to 38 U.S. States at least, living in a handful of them, and I've been to 6 other countries, living in England the last two years of High School, and then coming back to the US for University. I'm an introverted person, but on the bright side, that gives me more than enough time to lose myself in random projects, some of which really helps when trying to provide serious content on everyone's favorite NFL team.
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