Karen Guregian discovers new Patriots tackle Nate Solder 'has it all'.
Teams did their best to find a flaw, something to make Solder seem less perfect. But the Patriots’ first-round draft pick rated a 10 on the stud meter no matter which way you sliced him.
"They’d all come in my office and shut the door. They were just trying to find fault with the guy," former University of Colorado offensive line coach Denver Johnson said yesterday regarding the scouts who were dispatched to Boulder. "It almost got comical. I’d say, ‘Guys, why can’t you just believe what you see?’ This guy is the real deal. That’s what he is. He has diverse interests. He’s very unselfish. He’s an immensely gifted individual athletically. Sometimes, it’s just so rare to find those kind of gifts in a guy that doesn’t have severe character flaws. When you do find a guy like that, it’s almost like, you can’t believe one or the other. But the fact is, (Solder) has it all."
Pat Kirwan (NFL.com) Head-scratching draft for Pats? Think again.
One team that isn't used to being questioned is the Patriots. When New England took running backs in Rounds 2 and 3, the picks were debated because the entire football world thought the Patriots needed pass rushers. There was also a sentiment that this was the year the Patriots would package their picks and move up. Leading up to the draft, I warned everyone that Bill Belichick was probably not headed in that direction. In the end, Belichick ended up with an extra first- and second-round pick next year by moving down.
As for the running backs taken, let's look at the draft process. Four outside linebacker candidates were off the board before the Patriots took Nate Solder. Seven potential five-technique defensive ends were gone by the time the first pick in the second round came around. In total, 13 players for either spot were gone by time they selected Shane Vereen. While I could see a case for Dontay Moch or Justin Houston late in the second round because of their pass-rush credentials, Belichick might be looking to free agency for his pass rusher.
Belichick also knows he needed to get younger at running back between Fred Taylor and Kevin Faulk. Both Vereen and Stevan Ridley have power and run the zone scheme well. What if Belichick signs DE Cullen Jenkins of the Green Bay Packers in free agency and trades for an outside linebacker when the lockout is over? Point being, it's too early to criticize a coach who went 14-2 last year because he picked up a few running backs.
The pass rushers New England has taken recently (like Shawn Crable and Tyrone McKenzie) never really worked out. Let's wait and see how much Jermaine Cunningham has developed and what's happens when veterans are available. Most people on the outside looking in at a draft only see it on a need basis. Unless you have the same information as a team, you really can't have a value board. Either way, these players haven't even stepped on the field yet, which makes it premature to assume how they will perform.
- Ask PFW: This week's mailbag, as you might expect, is mostly a reaction to New England's actions in the NFL Draft.
- Patriots Today - Nate Solder talks draft. (1.35 min. video)
- PFW in Progress: Recapping the the 2011 NFL Draft. (2 hour program)
- New England Patriots Charitable Foundation Raffle: Experience of a Lifetime - Travel with the Team to an Away Game.
- Matthew Weiss reports eleven-year-old Jace Emma of Canton, Mass., got a unique opportunity Saturday to announce the New England Patriots' fifth-round pick for Marcus Cannon.
- Ian Rapoport has a terrific series of posts from Texarkana on 'The Making of Mallett': How QB Ryan Mallett gave away his U.S. Army All-American jersey. - Why Ryan Mallett studied Tom Brady in high school - The confusion when Ryan Mallett's family was lead to believe by the Miami Dolphins that they were going to take him in the Draft.
- Ian Rapoport posts a video of Jim and Debbie Mallett explaining how Ryan Mallett began his football career as a guard. (2.40 min. video)
- Christopher Price tries to figure out what's the endgame for Ryan Mallett and the Patriots.
- Mike Reiss helps us learn more about Patriots draft pick RB Shane Vereen (Cal).
- Mike Reiss notes Pat Kirwan of NFL.com isn't buying what the critics are saying about the Patriots draft.
- Chad Finn reminds fans that when it comes to filling his team's needs, Bill Belichick deserves the benefit of the doubt.
- Mark Farinella points out that over-analyzing the NFL Draft can drive someone mad.
- Jeff Howe thinks Bill Belichick just didn't see many quality players in the Draft, plus 19 other Patriots thoughts.
- Mike Reiss points out that the Patriots show the value they place on special teams by how they draft.
- Jeff Howe reports the three Patriots who are currently completing active duty in the U.S. Navy are full of pride after learning of successful mission to hunt down Osama bin Laden.
- AP Report: Woodhead talks about never giving up.
- Tom E. Curran scouts out how the Indianapolis Colts did in the draft.
- MIke Reiss answers his weekly reader mailbag: Measuring N.E. draft starts with Dowling.
- Greg Gabriel (Nat'l Football Post) Analyzing the draft: AFC East.
- Wes Bunting (Nat'l Football Post) AFC Draft Grades. Patriots: B-
- Jerry McDonald (Oakland Tribune) Inside the NFL: How New England Patriots successfully manipulate the Draft.
- James Walker (ESPN) Power Rankings: Top 10 NFL safeties. Meriweather makes the list.
- Gregg Rosenthal (ProFootballTalk) Looking at Ryan Mallett's chances of sticking in New England.
- Stefan Stevenson (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) TCU CB Malcolm Williams impresses Patriots.
- NFL analysts (NFL.com) Debate: Who is the best pick after round one?
- Michael David Smith (ProFootballTalk) Even during lockout, teams are tendering drafted players.
- Jason La Canfora (NFL.com) 2011 could offer worst crop of free agents in modern-era system.
- Jack Bechta (Nat'l Football Post) Lockout could be blessing for undrafted free agents.
- Gregg Rosenthal (ProFootballTalk) Michael Oher takes on Todd McShay.
- Peter King (SI) MMQB Tuesday edition: Mailbag.
- Chris Chase (Yahoo! Sports) Doug Flutie's daughter will be a Patriots cheerleader.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Goodell needs to start thinking about his legacy.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Ruling on stay expected Wednesday or Thursday.
- Gregg Rosenthal (ProFootballTalk) Eighth Circuit grants NFL's request for expedited hearing.
- AP Report: Appeals court sets June 3 hearing on lockout fight.
- AP Report: How players are living with the lockout.
- Mike O'Hara (Fox Sports) NFL must play on Sept. 11: Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith are on the clock.
- Ann Killion (SI) NFL badly losing the battle in the court of public opinion.