The New England Patriots had a pair of first-round picks entering the the 2011 NFL Draft Thursday, but a late trade sent their No. 28 overall selection to the New Orleans Saints, leaving the Pats with just the No. 17 pick in Round 1. Bill Belichick and company used that to take Nate Solder, an offensive lineman from Colorado. So, just what are the Patriots getting in Solder?
In short: Solder has "Great potential with a monstrous frame," writes Pats Pulpit.
Solder -- 6'8, 319 lbs -- is a massive offensive tackle who was a four-year starter with the Buffaloes. Although he was considered by many to be the third-best OT on the board, behind Gabe Camiri and Anthony Castonzo, he was the first taken, which surprised many, including Pats Pulpit. But that doesn't mean he won't be a good addition to the Patriots; offensive line:
He is a former tight end and is one of the most athletic tackles in the draft. He allowed just five sacks over three season at Colorado, and is already pretty polished as a pass blocker. 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.
Perhaps most important though is what Tom Brady thinks, since Solder will be protecting him for (hopefully) years to come: "Picking an offensive lineman always makes a QB happy."
For more 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.