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Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado | The DC Times

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Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

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Jonathan Bales

I have yet to complete my 2010 Offensive Line grades, but those aren’t needed to know the Cowboys desperately need an upgrade at right tackle.  As I’ve said before, my initial judgment of Jason Garrett’s capability as a head coach will be his willingness to cut unproductive veterans.

No one deserves to go more than right tackle Marc Colombo.  I credited him with yielding nine sacks on the season.  Even more alarming is that Colombo wasn’t even effective as a run blocker.  No matter the criteria for judgment, it’s clear Colombo is one of the worst starting offensive tackles in the league.

Unfortunately for Dallas, there are no elite offensive tackle prospects in this year’s draft.  Theoretically, we might not see an offensive tackle selected in the first 20 picks.  Now tackles tend to rise before the draft and there are a bunch of players at the position projected to go late in the first round.  Still, the Cowboys should be able to trade down and still secure one of the best offensive tackles in the draft.  The question will be whether that player can play right tackle and if using a selection on such a player is worth the cost.

Scouting Report

At 6’9”, 315 pounds, Nate Solder is absolutely mammoth.  At such a height, Solder actually has room to put on some solid weight.  The typical scouting report on Solder says he struggles as a run blocker but can secure the edge in pass protection.  I disagree with that assessment.  As I’ve watched Solder, I’ve noticed a player who is athletic enough to get to the second level in the run game.  Take a look at him at the 1:45 mark in the video below.

The bad news is Solder struggles mightily with the speed rush.  Take a look at the same video above at 0:52, 1:12, and 1:59 in.  You can see him use poor technique when initially beat off the line.  I think a lot of that has to do with his height.  It’s difficult for such a tall player to properly bend, and when he loses his leverage he’s done.  In that particular game against Cal, Solder was absolutely abused all day.

As I watched more of Solder, it appeared his performance against Cal was less of an aberration and more of the norm.  Take a look at his game against Missouri . .

You can see Solder consistently use poor leverage.  Take a look at him at the 2:18 mark.  He plays much too high and it forces him to lunge after defenders.  The same thing happens at the 3:48 mark.

Solder seems to be rising up some boards, but I’m not sure why.  In my opinion, he doesn’t have the ability to be a lockdown left tackle.  His skill set, in my view, is more properly suited for the right side.  If he adds some bulk, he has the potential to be solid in the run game, but not worthy of a first-round pick.


Solder appears like he’ll be a first-rounder and potentially a top 15 pick.  That is way, way too high.  Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see anything more than a third-rounder when I watch him.

The Cowboys should avoid Solder at all costs.  Even moving him to right tackle wouldn’t solve his issues.  Solder seems like Marc Colombo without NFL experience–yikes!

Other Potential Cowboys Draft Picks in 2011

Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara

Cal DT/DE Cameron Jordan

UNC DE/OLB Robert Quinn

Ohio State DT/DE Cameron Heyward

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16 Responses to Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

  1. Rick says:

    If you see him as RT only, doesn’t that make him a better fit for Dallas? Not that I’m saying they should use a 1st on a player you’re giving a 3rd round grade, but there’s nothing wrong with being RT only.

    The guy I want, if they opt to trade down, is Carimi. Guy looks like an absolute mauler on the right side.

  2. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Again, excellent analysis.

    I think his recent rise up some boards is his work out in the Senior Bowl practices. I saw a few (on the NFL network) and he seemed to do fairly well – I didn’t get to see what the particular matchups were though. He is definitely taller than everyone else…

    I like this pick more than any other even though it’s probably more of a stretch than some of the DE/DT prospects. The reason why is that I’ve never really been quite a fan of drafting the best available player UNLESS you have a definite strategy in mind for trading him or trading the player on your roster who plays the same position. If the best player on the board is a WR and you’ve got 3-4 good prospects, either trade down or accept the stretch and draft a need.

    I agree w/ you Jonathan that RT is by FAR the greatest need on the team. DT/DE isn’t nearly as much of a need if we resign 2 of the 3 DE free agents we have (remember, Olshansky, Ratliff, Brent and Lissemore are all on contract) as compared to having Columbo starting again. We need 1st round talent at RT (or draft a LT and move Free to RT) NOW and I’d be more more satisfied as a fan/season ticket holder if the Boys at least try and address that position as high as possible or trade a higher pick for one that makes drafting that need not such a great stretch.

    So, I’m all for trading down into the teens and getting this guy or Camrini or Constanzo or whomever grades out the best (can you see my request for more LT/RT draft prospect analysis in that sentence?) or even drafting him at #9.

  3. willis says:

    Rick, I love Carimi too.

    Tyrone – totally agree about right tackle being the most pressing need.

    The question is, will Jerry ever draft a lineman in the first round?

  4. omar says:

    yeah i’m also having trouble trying to decipher why people are so high on him, and for RT’s i’d take carimi over him in a heartbeat, i hope the cowboys will stay away from him

  5. john coleman says:

    I’ve said it before, so why not again. IMO there is only one tackle who is a true 1st rounder and that is Derrick Sherrod. The kid from USC has some skills but would be a reach in the 1st.

    Carimi, Castonzo, and Solder from what I have seen all struggle with the speed rush. At this point I see all of them as RTs and you don’t draft RTs in the 1st.

    Why waste a pick on any of these guys when others like LeeZiemba will be available later? He has some OT ability and could be a OG as well. There is a guy from Clemson as well, Chris something I believe. He also could be either. These two would be more in the RT mode and their draft status would be inline with a RT.
    Acouple of other names on the oline are Marcus Cannon and Orlando Franklin. Franklin is not super fleeet afoot but has a mean streak and projects at OG. Cannon is similar but may go too high for us.

  6. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    I was high on Gannon (TCU) until he was ABUSED in the bowl game. Perhaps he could move to guard.

  7. Rick–It WOULD make him a fit if they were getting value, but since he’ll go long before the 3rd, I don’t see them getting value.

    Tyrone–Thanks, and yes Solder has been solid at the Senior Bowl. And I agree TOTALLY with you on your BPA assessment. Teams SAY they take the BPA, but really they take the BPA at a position of need. The greater the need, the more you can slide from the BPA. RT is a HUGE need, and I can’t wait to assess more of the OT prospects to see who might be a good fit.

    Omar–Will be taking a look at Carimi tomorrow.

    JC–I haven’t watched Sherrod much but he will be another guy I analyze. I’m definitely in favor of trading down for a RT, IF he is still good value.

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  15. Greg Haley says:

    I am not as down on this guy as you but I agree he would be a huge stretch at #9. I think with his size and he seems pretty agile that he can be taught alot. That is if he isnt unteachable. He looks like a solid run blocker and doesnt stop at the point of attack keeps going downfield to find more people to hit. Plus I like his mean attitude. I saw a few pushes to the face when the gus were on the ground. I have see a couple of his games this year and I definetly agree he struggles against the speed rush bad, but looking at the film it seems like his technique is horrible. He needs to bend his knees more and keep his wait off of the heels of his feet, which can be taught. It also may be laziness…looks like some plays he engulfs who he blocks and has no problem and others he looks lost. This is tougher to correct. So to sum up what I am saying I agree I wouldnt want to draft this guy at 9 but if you can trade back to the late teens early 20’s I think he wouldnt be a total bust and you could get williams from texas and a safety in the 2nd with the extra picks. Still I would take one of the elite D players at 9 because its not to often that I want the boys to be drafting this high so why they are there take a cant miss stud and trade the 2nd pick for more picks. Alot of quality is available in the 2nd and 3rd round without the high price.

  16. Greg–I think Solder is coachable (nothing to suggest he isn’t), but I don’t think he’s a natural bender. Others disagree, but I think he’ll struggle far more against speed rushers than a guy like Tyron Smith or Anthony Castonzo. You’re dead on about the 2nd/3rd round quality. It sure would be nice to pick up another pick or two in that area.

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