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Report: Patriots to Hold Pre-Draft Visit with OT Nate Solder

According to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, the New England Patriots are scheduled to hold a visit with Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder this week.

Solder, a former tight end, stands at over 6'8" and 319 pounds.  He's got a tremendous work ethic as evidenced by the fact that he's put on over 70 pounds over muscle since arriving at Colorado as a freshman (according to NFP, he still has just 8% body fat, despite arriving to the program at 244 lbs).  Because of his background as a tight end, Solder is extremely athletic for an offensive tackle, running in the 4.9's and showing great side-to-side range and quickness.  His run blocking doesn't quite match his pass blocking skills, but he shows a high effort and is strong enough to deal with the 3-4 defensive ends/tackles that he would see a lot of in the AFC if drafted by the Patriots.  Solder could still benefit from adding some weight to his frame, but other than that, looks like a top 25 pick in this April's draft.

One of the interesting things about Solder is that he primarily would project as a left tackle in the NFL.  If the Patriots end up targeting Solder in the first round, it would likely spell the end for  Matt Light as a Patriot.  While Light could likely hold down a starting spot for one more year, I'd find it unlikely that he would start for longer than that.  Because of the fact that he will likely have to choose his destination after the draft, he would likely choose to sign elsewhere if Solder was already in the fold.  In addition, drafting Solder would likely cement Sebastian Vollmer's role as the team's right tackle for the remainder of his Patriots career.  Personally, I would prefer if the Patriots drafted a player such as Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi, who could play both tackle spots or right guard.

However, if the Patriots did end up taking Nate Solder somewhere in the 1st round, you could count me as one fan who would not be complaining.