As per usual, Bill Belichick has made his first round draft pick a surprise, selecting offensive lineman Nate Solder out of Colorado.
And, as per usual, Patriots fans aren't entirely sure how to respond. First there's the confusion, then the surprise, and finally that feeling that Bill Belichick just didn't quite get all of that one. If the feeling is familiar, it's because it was the same one inspired by the Devin McCourty selection inspired in 2010.
Greg Knopping of Pats Pulpit knows that feeling, and wonders what the implications are for Matt Light. Still, he recognizes that Solder is, if not the most exciting pick, a strong one:
While Solder was my third ranked tackle on the board, I am honestly surprised to see him go at the 17th overall spot to the Patriots, especially with Gabe Carimi and Anthony Castonzo still on the board at the position.
I also wonder what this pick means for Matt Light. Solder is considered somewhat of a pure left tackle without the versatility of an Anthony Castonzo or Gabe Carimi.
He needs to add some strength, and needs some work as a run blocker. Overall, however, Solder has one of the highest ceilings of any left tackle in this draft.
Meanwhile, Christopher Price over at WEEI notes that, combined with Sebastian Vollmer, Solder creates a big anchor for an offensive line that's undergoing a lot of changes:
New England offensive line has undergone pretty big changes this offseason - the uncertainty around the future of tackles Light and Nick Kaczur, and the retirement of guard Stephen Neal - and Solder certainly has a chance to step in and contribute immediately. The 6-foot-8, 314-pound Solder and the 6-foot-8, 314-pound Sebastian Vollmer give the Patriots a pair of massive tackles.
For more on the New England Patriots and their draft, head over to Pats Pulpit. And for all things 2011 NFL Draft related, from the first pick to Mr. Irrelevant and everything in between, check out SB Nation's 2011 NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking The Draft.