clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

New England Patriots Links 5/04/11 - Patriots Draft Pick Nate Solder Is 'The Real Deal'

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 ( 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.