Yesterday I posted my scouting report for Nate Solder, but as one of the most hyped-up players in this year’s class I thought I’d devote a little more time to him today.
Personally, I think Solder is one of the most overrated prospects in this year’s draft class. The attention he is receiving reminds me somewhat of the attention given to Bruce Campbell prior to last year’s draft.
Like Campbell, Solder is a physical freak. He’s 6’8″ and legitimately has the athleticism of a tight end. And that’s exactly why so many people have fallen in love with him.
However, also like Campbell, Solder doesn’t have the game tape to support his high marks from some scouts and draftniks.
Take this video of Solder vs California as a perfect example. Cameron Jordan abuses Solder on a number of occasions, but what is even more concerning is the way Solder appears helpless against the much smaller Jarrad Price (5’10″, 213 lbs). Around the 50-second mark Price uses a simple speed rush to easily get past Solder to force a fumble.
This video against Cal is concerning for two reasons:
1) Jordan is the closest thing to a NFL lineman Solder faced in college. His inability to slow him down indicates that he may have a hard time adjusting to the NFL. He could develop into a quality starter with time, but he won’t be a difference maker from day one.
2) Price’s success with the speed rush may shed light on a weakness that will plague Solder throughout his career due to his height. Solder has quick feet, but he just isn’t able to stay low and remain quick enough to get his hands on Price. NFL defensive coordinators who may see this same video will immediately test Solder with their smallest, faster edge rushers to see how he handles himself.
Ultimately I like Solder slightly more than I liked Bruce Campbell, but only because Campbell also came with question marks about his work ethic. Solder comes with no such concerns. In 2009 he was given Colorado’s John Wooten Award for his dedication and work ethic.
In time, Solder could develop into a Pro Bowl talent. However, he should be viewed strictly as a developmental prospect and shouldn’t be drafted before the early 3rd round. Any team needing a quick fix for the offensive line should look elsewhere at players such as Gabe Carimi and Anthony Castonzo. While they may not have Solder’s upside, they are better equipped to play immediately and less likely to be complete busts.