Todd McShay, one of ESPN’s draft gurus, had the Lions selecting Colorado OL Nate Solder at one point. Nate Solder has been thrown around for the Lions in other mock drafts too. Solder, along with Boston College’s Anthony Castonzo, are considered to be the best offensive linemen in this year’s draft.
I am an Iowa State Cyclone fan and attended the Colorado vs Iowa State game in 2009. My seats were about 4 rows up in the endzone and I had a clear view of the players. I remember seeing Solder (I didn’t know who he was at the time) and one thing stuck out to me. His size. The guy is massive, he stands 6’9 and weighs 315 pounds. I remember #78 towering over all the other linemen.
Solder is a converted tight end. He played his freshman and sophomore years at Colorado at that position although he spent most of his time blocking. At 6’9 you can imagine that he has some long arms. He really uses his arms to drive and direct the rusher out of the play. Being a former tight end, Solder is very quick and athletic.
Solder can improve in his technique. He has only been a lineman a couple of years so it is understandable. People say he can get sloppy in his footwork and can get beaten inside easily.
In 2009, Solder was First Team All-Big 12 and was an All-American this year. Solder is considered to have one of the biggest upsides in this this year’s draft class.