Colorado’s Solder: Height Could be Biggest Detriment

March 28, 2011 | Brian Billick

Nate Solder out of Colorado is a huge athlete that has a ton of athletic potential.  With his 6’8, 319 pound muscular, he looks like a character best suited for professional wrestling.  He will also make for a heck of a football player.

Solder is a former tight end and it shows in his nimble feet and quick pass sets.  While he could gain more consistent leverage and hand placement when drive blocking, he is a technician in pass protection.  From his Sophomore season on, he only allowed his man to get pressure on the quarterback 1.8 percent of the time (21 out of 1,400 passing plays) and just allowed 5 sacks during that same period.  When he does allow pressure, it is typically because he over sets and opens up an inside lane.

While Solder’s overall size is impressive, it also may be his biggest detriment.  He struggles to bend at the knees and often leans, getting top heavy and unbalanced.  He also struggles to really get under a defender and drive him off the ball in the run game.

As it stands today, I have Nate Solder as my fourth best tackle in the draft.  If Solder can learn how to use his long arms and knees to dominant defenders, he will make a team sitting with a mid to late first round selection very happy.