"Every year when we come down [to meet the draftees], I say, ĎGive me a story that I can tell media we chatted about. Whatís special about this connection?í And Nate said, ĎIn my name, S-O-L-D-E-R, thereís no ĎIí. Iím a team guy all the way. That just says it all. Weíre happy to introduce out first-round draft pick, Nate Solder," Kraft said.
Solder said he wanted to compete for a job on the offensive line.
"Iíve always been a guy who is about competition. I think competition makes everyone better. I came here to compete for a position and thatís what I plan on doing," he said.
Click the Full Entry button for the complete Q&A with Solder, provided by the Patriots' media relations department.
Q: Whatís your day been like so far?
NS: Well, I had a 6 a.m. flight this morning. So after everything got wrapped up last night when I got drafted, itís been a pretty long day for me. I flew out here and meeting these coaches and others has been a real privilege.
Q: Did you get much sleep?
NS: You know, Iím extremely excited and maybe a little bit restless. But itís simple, you have to fall asleep.
Q: Has it been a whirlwind experience?
NS: You know, right after I got the phone call from the Patriots, it just kind of went crazy after that. So yeah, itís been kind of a whirlwind.
Q: [On competing for a position on the offensive lineÖ]
NS: Iíve always been a guy who is about competition. I think competition makes everyone better. I came here to compete for a position and thatís what I plan on doing.
Q: What are your impressions of the organization?
NS: Iíve always held this place in really high regard. I have a ton of respect for the players and for Mr. Kraft and what heís built here and this is an amazing place. I would not rather be any other place in the world, actually.
Q: Have you ever spent time in this area?
NS: Very briefly, but no, Iíve never spent any time here.
Q: What were you here for?
NS: The Walter Camp All-American Banquet.
Q: I imagine you grew up as a Broncos fan, have you switched allegiance?
NS: Oh, itís very easy to switch. Yes, Iím very happy to be here and Iíve always been rooting the Patriots because there have have been a lot of great years. It hasnít been hard to be a fan of the Patriots.
Q: Have you heard from a lot of people that you havenít heard from in a while?
NS: A few, but I always try to respect that and I always try to connect with the people that I care about, too.
Q: Are you a little nervous about meeting the players?
NS: No, itís a great group of players and I have tremendous respect for every single one of them. There might be a few nerves meeting the whole group of them, but no, thereís not one in particular.
Q: What about Tom Brady?
NS: Heís a great player as all the other guys are. Iím excited to meet all of them.
Q: What do you like most about playing left tackle?
NS: Itís a huge responsibility Ė protecting the quarterback, being able to run the ball. And thatís something that I always loved. I always love a challenge.
Q: Describe the players you have played against in college.
NS: Yeah, the Big-12 had a lot of different guys like that. Absolutely. There was a lot of speed. You know, I played against Von Miller, who was drafted No. 2 last night. There were several other guys [who had] power. Brian Orakpo, he was a power guy, and I played against him. So, Iíve face numerous types of pass rushers.
Q: [On the level of competition he saw in collegeÖ]
NS: Oh yeah. Like I said, the Big-12 is a real competitive league, and we saw it all.
Q: At this stage of your career what would you say are your strength and weaknesses?
NS: Kind of like coming out of high school, there are a lot of things that you are going to develop and get better at. And I think I have a lot of things to get better at. The great thing about being here is there are such great coaches with coach [Dante] Scarnecchia and coach [Bill] Belichick. And I look forward to the opportunity to get better.
Q: Who have you met with so far?
NS: Iíve met with a number of people. Iíve met with the Krafts. Iíve met a couple of the coaches here.
Q: Have you met Coach Belichick?
NS: I met Belichick, yes I did.
NS: No, I havenít met any players.
Q: As you look around this facility and as you walk through, what are your thoughts?
NS: I think Mr. Kraft was the one who pointed out the impressive record that they have here at this stadium, so that was the first thought to come to mind is they win a lot of games here. They do things right here.
Q: Do you have a number in mind that you would like to wear?
NS: No, you know, Iíve always been happy with whatever, in that Iím not caught on my number. Iím a team guy, so that doesnít make a difference to me really.
Q: On being a captainÖ
NS: Well, I was always a lead by example guy, but along with that, I was a leader where there was a need. And so this last, past season at Colorado, there was a a need for me to be a little more vocal, and thatís kind of the way I stepped up and was doing that, too.
Q: With the uncertainty of the CBA there is a lot of uncertainty, how do you have a lot of optimism?
NS: Iím ecstatic to be here in New England. I donít know whatís going to happen with any of that. I couldnít tell you one way or the other. I think itís changing all the time. Iím here to play football, and Iíll do whatever they tell me to do.
Q: Do you have your own playbook?
NS: No, I donít.
Q: Any comment on the concerns from scouts and analysts from the combine?
NS: Iíve never really paid too much attention to analysts. Iíve always felt that Iím a strong, powerful player, but I always have things to develop and get better at.
Q: What are you interested in outside of football?
NS: Iím interested in the environment and things like that. I hope that I can continue to do that. I donít know exactly what my plans are going to end up being right now. Iím a football player and thatís my first priority. So, I havenít though too much about that yet.
Q: Tell me about the elk hunt.
NS: I have shot one elk. And itís funny because Iíve probably been hunting for about 10 or 15 years chasing after elk, and Iíve only shot one, so that tells you how good of a hunter I am, I guess.
Q: Is it difficult to sneak up on them because youíre 6í8Ē?
NS: No, itís not easy, but people do better than that.
Q: Is it hard to sneak up on an elk when youíre 6í 8íí?
NS: Maybe thatís whatís holding me back Ė Iím too tall.
Q: Hunts can take all day, is it hard to stand that long?
NS: The one that I shot was out Ė itís kind of a funny story because Iíve traveled miles to the mountains to try to find these elk, and the one that I shot was about two miles away from my house in a field. It was not a very adventurous story, but I was happy to shoot it though, nonetheless.
Q: How big was it?
NS: I donít even know how you would quantify. It was a cow, so it didnít have antlers or anything.
Q: You happen to see that your college teammate, Jimmy Smith, got drafted in the first round?
NS: Iím very happy for Jimmy, yeah. Thatís an awesome thing for Jimmy.
Q: Have you spoke with him?
NS: No, I havenít.
Q: [On the quarterbacks he has played withÖ]
NS: Iíve kind of had both, and having a smart quarterback makes a big difference.
Q: What is the biggest thing you have to work on?
NS: Someone asked that, and the same answer Iím going to give you is there are a lot of things that I need to improve on. The thing that Iím so happy about is that I have such great coaches here to improve on those things.
Q: Whatís next? How long are you here?
NS: Well, Iím kind of going five minutes at a time here. They tell me to go here, I go there. They tell me go there, you know. So, five minutes at a time. Iím not even sure what the schedule is at this point.
Q: Did you work with a fairly complex playbook?
NS: I wouldnít say it was simple, but I donít know how complex it was. Itís hard to say.
Q: At what point did you decide you wanted to pursue football full time?
NS: Well, I almost played basketball in college, too. That wouldíve been at Dartmouth. I chose football as the route that I would take, and Iím so glad that I did because it was a great five years. And I love the sport. And Iím happy to be here today, where I am today.
Q: Did you get a scholarship?
NS: Dartmouth doesnít have athletic scholarships.
Q: Who was the coach at Dartmouth?
NS: At Dartmouth? Dawn, is that right? Prince? Prince, thatís what it was. Robert Prince. I donít know. Iím sorry, I donít know.
Q: Do you like the type of oxygen down here?
NS: Yeah, this is quite a bit different from the top of the mountain that Iím from. Itís nice.
Q: [On Coloradoís mediocre recordÖ]
NS: Well, we play it up as if that were the case. Our record wouldnít suggest that though.