The New England Patriots lost some core players over the first week of free agency. The biggest of those losses – both from a physical perspective as when it comes to importance – is arguably starting left tackle Nate Solder. The 29-year old, who protected Tom Brady's blindside for the majority of the past seven years, signed a record-breaking four-year, $62 million contract with the New York Giants.
Naturally, the Patriots are now in need for a new left tackle and the draft might be the way to go – and SB Nation's Dan Kadar has already identified a potential target in his latest mock draft:
31. New England Patriots: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
A tall, athletic offensive tackle in Nate Solder just exited the Patriots for the Giants, so New England could see his carbon copy in Miller.
Kolton Miller is an intriguing player at the offensive tackle position due to his elite blend of size and athletic abilities – similar to what Nate Solder brought to the table. At the NFL's scouting combine earlier this month, the redshirt junior was measured at 6'8, 309 lbs and performed well during workouts, running a 4.95 40-yard dash (third-best among offensive linemen), 7.34 three-cone drill (third-best) and led all linemen with a 10'1 broad jump.
During his three non-redshirt seasons at UCLA, Miller appeared in 30 games and by the 2017 season earned the Bruins' starting left tackle role. Staring all 13 contests during his final collegiate seasons, the California native earned second-team All-Pac 12 honors as a standout blocker in both the running and the passing game. A technically sound and athletically impressive player, Miller would be a very good pickup late in the first round.
While he still needs to work on his upper-body strength and add some bulk to his frame, Miller brings plenty of upside and nice fundamentals to the table – which makes him exactly the type of player the Patriots and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia could have an eye on come the first day of the draft.