Before taking a look at a variety of the reactions to the Patriots first choice in the 2011 draft, check out a pair of videos featuring Nate Solder:
Here is a complete transcript of Nate Solder’s conference call with the New England media, thanks to Christopher Price of WEEI.
Nate Solder is the pick for the Patriots: Price reveals that Solder almost went to Dartmouth to play basketball and missed just two snaps in his college career. His college coach, Bob Marken talks about the type of person the Patriots are getting.
“At the end of his college career, he wrote letters to the Denver Post and to the local paper here thanking people for the support they gave him. It was really neat. But that’s the type of person he is. He’ll be a great community member for the people of New England. He’ll connect really well there. He’s a guy that’s easy to root for.”
Sold on Solder: Colorado tackle is Patriots’ choice: Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe writes that this was a position of need due to uncertainty with Matt Light, Logan Mankins and Nick Kaczur. SMY also points out that Dante Scarnecchia met with both Solder and Boston College’s Anthony Castonzo, a player many draft evaluators rated as a better tackle than Solder.
Nate Solder’s Country Background Will Make Him a Hit With Patriots’ Offensive Linemen: Jeff Howe from NESN says that Solder is “a country boy who will fit in just fine with the rest of the Patriots’ offensive linemen” who likes to hunt and eat elk and deer. Howe also uncovers a Patriots – Colorado connection: newly hired assistant strength was hired from Colorado. Bill Belichick mentioned that “we hired Moses, who was at Colorado last year. He certainly gave us a little insight.”
No sizzle, just Solder for Patriots, Tom E. Curran of CSNNE likens Solder to a plate of broccoli: it’s good for you. Curran acknowledges that many fans were looking for and expecting the Pats to go after a defensive player such as Robert Quinn or Cam Jordan, but protecting the blindside of Tom Brady for the rest of his career is more important.
The Boston Herald‘s Karen Guregian writes that the pick was Safe, not Sexy in a report from Vince Wilork’s annual draft day fundraiser at Pinz. One of the attendees was Matt Light, which certainly led to an awkward situation for the free agent and incumbent starting left tackle. Guregian goes on to ask “if Belichick is going to maneuver to acquire an additional first-round pick, why doesn’t he ever use both?” Karen also reports that even Vince Wilfork seemed perplexed with the trade of the second pick, throwing his hands up in the air when that happened.
Mike Reiss of espn reviews the selection of Solder accompanied by an obligatory espn video, noting that Solder has made the transition from tight end to tackle, similar to how Bruce Armstrong did for the Pats a quarter century ago.
Nick Underhill of the Springfield Republican writes that the Patriots surprise everybody with pick of offensive lineman Nate Solder. Underhill points out that when the Pats cancelled his trip to New England, Solder did not think there was much chance he would end up with the Pats, even after Dante Scarnecchia made a last-minute visit three days before the start of the draft. Solder said there was “fairly limited contact” and that “there’s been so many question marks going through my head, I didn’t know what to think.”
The Boston Herald‘s Ian Rapoport writes that Nate Solder adds beef up front, focusing on the fact to no one’s surprise the Pats pulled off another draft surprise. When Matt Light missed some time with an injury in 2009, Sebastian Vollmer filled in very well in his place at left tackle; this has led to some speculation that Vollmer could return to LT with Solder playing right tackle. However, Bill Belichick says that Solder “has played left tackle; that will be his position in the National Football League.”
More to that last point, Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal writes that Drafting O-lineman Solder sends a message to Light. Donaldson compares Matt Light’s situation to that of Richard Seymour from a couple years ago, and suggests that he will need to “temper his contract demands if he wants to finish his career in New England.”
Jennifer Toland of the Worcester Telegram profiles Solder, noting that his selection breaks a string of four straight drafts that the Pats had selected a defensive player with their first pick, and was the first offensive lineman the Patriots drafted in the first round since Logan Mankins in 2005.
Mark Farinella of the Attleboro Sun-Chronicle writes about how the draft unfolded may have had a large part in the selection of Solder. After a run on quarterbacks there was a run on defensive front seven players, with six players from that group taken before it was the Patriots time to make a draft pick. With all those defensive players gone, Solder – only the third offensive lineman drafted Thursday represented a better value than the next highest-rated player on defense.
Glen Farley of the Patriot Ledger writes that Opening day of draft is business as usual in New England, the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune‘s Hector Longo writes about the Buffalo Solder, and Tim Whelan of the The MetroWest Daily News says the Patriots got A Good Solder in three more columns on Solder, the offensive line getting younger, and speculation on Matt Light’s future with the Patriots.
Addendum: I want to add a very good link that Patspsycho pointed out that I omitted, an interview with Denver Johnson, who was Solder’s offensive line coach at Colorado by Mike Reiss for espnBoston, Learning more about … Nate Solder.
“It was kind of funny because everybody was trying to find salt with him, almost like ‘this is too good to be true.’ Nate is just a very humble, unassuming person. He is very generous with his time. He isn’t the guy who is going to show up with a gun in his bag and be on the police blotter. So everyone was trying to dig up dirt because no one could find anything. I think they sensed we might be hiding something about him, but we weren’t. He’s the real deal, everything you’d want a kid to be. He’s the kind of guy you hope your daughter brings home to meet you one day. He’s as good as gold and a tremendously blessed athlete on top of it.”
“The thing that Nate can do, as opposed to a lot of other guys his height, is bend. He has tremendous ankle, knee and hip flexibility. He can lower his body without bending at the waist. Sometimes smaller guys can be problematic, and that’s something any lineman can learn to better deal with, but coaches will work on that aspect of it. He has the inherent ability to bend and move his feet.”
My intent was to keep this column about reactions from media members who focus on the Patriots: Pats beat writers, if you will. However there is one person who has been very negative of not only this pick, but the entire Patriots draft: Ross Tucker. The former Patriot who now appears on espn and Sirius radio said that “I have no idea what New England is doing in this draft and don’t like it at all” and stated that if you “Look at the Pats draft again & tell me how will be better in 2011 than they were in 2010. What position did they improve?” Tucker also claimed that “Solder is downgrade from Light. RB’s aren’t better than Green-Ellis and Woodhead. Dowling maybe a better nickelback.”
The primary thing with Tucker’s comments is that he seems to put far to much emphasis on the effect most player’s have in their rookie season. As a professional NFL analyst and former NFL player, he should know that the draft is about improving a team over several upcoming season. The affect and productivity a player has in his rookie season is minimal in most cases. Why his obsession with what position is better in 2011 than in 2010 is rather odd and misguided, in my opinion.
Tucker does eventually go on to admit that “I understand that it is probably a smart move & good for the long-term but they already do too much for the long-term IMO.”
My question is this: when was the last time a team went all-in for the short term – especially with the idea of depending on rookies for a championship – and it worked?
The draft is for building for the long-term. Expecting it to be something to push a team over the top that season is just plain foolish.
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