Patriots select Nate Solder with No. 17 pick in NFL draft

FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots selected Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder with the No. 17 pick in the NFL draft.

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At 6-8 and 319 pounds, Solder fills a gap for the Patriots with uncertainty on the offensive line. He’s a converted tight end and a three-year starter on the line, allowing just five sacks in that time span.

This last year he was a consensus All-American as Colorado’s starting left tackle. He was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy and a unanimous All-Big 12 Conference first-team choice. He also received the Zack Jordan Award as Colorado’s most valuable player. The 23-year old is from Buena Vista, Colo.

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Some of his stats from the last year:

– He led the Big 12 with a 94.3 percent grade for blocking consistency, the highest grade by a Colorado blocker since All-American Andre Gurode in 2001.
– Led the nation with 142 knockdowns.
– Produced 10 touchdown-resulting blocks.
– Allowed just one sack in the season.
– Allowed only three pressures in the season.
– Flagged for only one penalty in 2010.

A couple of notes on Solder from Pro Football Weekly:

– He has outstanding feet, moving much like (you guessed it) a tight end.
– Excellent second level blocker, getting downfield and able to hit moving targets.
– He’s hardworking and coachable.
– Plays too upright.
– Lacks base strength.
– Struggled in one-on-one team drills at Senior Bowl.