Nate Solder

NFL Combine prop bets?

For the past few years Bodog.com has sent me a list of NFL Draft prop bets. I always just hit the delete button because I have better things to do in late April than waste my time trying to figure out if the Big East or ACC will have more top-50 picks or whatever other nonsense they come up with.

But this year they’re stepping up their game, and I’m intrigued.

I recently received an email with NFL Combine prop bets. This is possibly the most ridiculous thing you could bet on, because we’re talking about a difference of hundredths of a second, or quarters of an inch on some of these, but hey, it’s not like anything else interesting is going on in the sports world in late February.

So I’ll take the time to weigh in on a few…

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Christian Ponder (QB FSU)                                 -120
Jake Locker (QB Washington)                           -120

This is a gimme. Locker should be faster than Ponder by a full 10th of a second (and that fact that .10 is considered a large margin is exactly why you’re a fool if you bet on any of these).

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Mark Ingram (RB Alabama)                                 -120
Ryan Williams (RB Virginia Tech)                     -120

Supposedly Ingram is going to run in the 4.4s, but I’ll believe it when I see it. My money’s on Williams.

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Julio Jones (WR Alabama)                                  Even
Jon Baldwin (WR Pittsburgh)                               -130

Baldwin’s camp has been hyping him up and he reportedly has been clocked in the 4.3 range. Not sure I believe that, but it won’t be difficult for him to post a better time than Jones. I’ll be mildly surprised if Jones cracks 4.5.

Who will the most bench press repetitions?
Nate Solder (OT Colorado)                                  -130
Gabe Carimi (OT Wisconsin)                               Even

Carimi is the easy choice here. Not only does he just appear more muscular than Solder, but Solder is 6’8″ – the taller you are, the harder it is to get large number of reps on the bench.

Who will have the highest vertical leap?
A.J. Green (WR Georgia)                                    -130
Patrick Peterson (CB LSU)                                 Even

This could be a close call, but my money’s on Peterson. It’s very rare for someone with Green’s height to compete with a guy like Peterson in the vertical.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 1 Comment

All-Overrated Team (pre-combine edition)

QB – Jake Locker, Washington
Locker is all hype and no substance. He lacks the accuracy to play quarterback in the NFL and he’s going to fall out of the 1st round.
RB – Mark Ingram, Alabama
Ingram wasn’t even the best running back on his own team this past season. Comparisons to Emmitt Smith are being tossed around, but he reminds me more of Ron Dayne.
WR – Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh
A gifted athlete with elite size and strength, but just doesn’t play up to his potential.
TE – D.J. Williams, Arkansas
Athletic, but doesn’t really have a position. Too short to be a star at tight end.
OT – Nate Solder, Colorado
Suffering (or benefiting, I guess) from the media’s Bruce Campbell syndrome. He’s athletic, but far from a finished product.
OG – Mike Pouncey, Florida
He’s not his brother. He’s good, but his stock in the media has risen because of his last name.
DE – Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
After a stellar 2009 he took a step backwards as a senior. There are some concerns about his effort on the field.
DT – Marcell Dareus, Alabama
He’s never performed at an elite level as a full-time starter – not exactly the résumé of a top-10 pick.
OLB – Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
Is he strong enough to play defensive end? Is he athletic enough to play linebacker?
ILB – Greg Jones, Michigan State
A gifted athlete who consistently falls short of expectations. He benefits from a very weak class for the position.
CB – Brandon Harris, Miami FL
Fast enough to stick with anyone, but he’s undersized and consistently gets beat by more physical receivers.
S – Robert Sands, West Virginia
Its easy to be intrigued by his size, but very few have ever played the position effectively at his size.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 1 Comment

A closer look at Nate Solder

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.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

Nate Solder scouting report

Nate Solder OT Colorado

Ht: 6’8″

Wt: 314

Strengths:
Impressive size. Elite athleticism for an offensive lineman – a converted tight end. A smart kid on and off the field. Coaches have nothing but great things to say about his work ethic.
Weaknesses:
Still learning the position – just three years of experience as an offensive lineman. Very raw. Really struggled to keep pace with some of the more talented defensive ends he faced, such as Cal’s Cameron Jordan. Has a very thin frame – still built more like a tight end. Needs to bulk up, especially in the lower body in order to create a stronger base.
Comments:
At this point Solder is all hype and no substance. The potential is obvious, so there is a chance someone takes him in the 1st round, however he lacks the fundamentals, experience and strength necessary to step right into a NFL starting lineup. The most telling sign of his struggles came against Cal this past season when he was simply abused by Cameron Jordan – probably the closest thing to an NFL lineman he faced while at Colorado. As a developmental prospect, I wouldn’t take him before the 3rd round. However, there is little chance that he’ll be on the board that late – someone will get overexcited and take him much earlier.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2011 Comments Off

NFL Draft Stock Watch

Nate Solder – OT – Colorado
Solder’s stock is in free fall after getting beat like a drum against Cal this past weekend. Solder, who is 6’8″, simply lacked the athleticism to keep pace with Cal’s speed rushers. His footwork was slow and he had trouble staying low enough to get his hands into their bodies. He entered the season as my top-rated offensive tackle – mainly because it’s a pretty weak group – but it’s unlikely he’ll remain in that top spot when I update the list.

Terrence Toliver – WR – LSU
Toliver entered the year as the top senior receiver (not that that title means much considering the mass exodus last year) but he hasn’t been a factor so far this season. He has just six receptions for 47 yards and doesn’t appear to be a big part of LSU’s game plan on offense.

Christian Ponder – QB – Florida State
Potential 1st-round picks rarely have a performance like Ponder’s against Oklahoma. He completed just 39.3 percent of his passes while throwing two interceptions. Oklahoma may have the best defense he’ll face all season, so this game will definitely stick in the mind of scouts.

Daniel Thomas – RB – Kansas State
Thomas is in the mix to be the first running back off the board in this year’s draft, and he’s already making his case. He’s racked up nearly 400 yards on the ground this season, including 234 against a respectable UCLA defense. On 49 attempts against UCLA and Missouri State he’s averaging 7.6 yards per carry.

Kendall Hunter – RB – Oklahoma State
Hunter leads all running backs in rushing yards this season (but trails Denard Robinson overall). He rushed for over 250 yards against Washington State and followed it up with 157 against Troy. Safe to say he’ll face some tougher defenses in the Big 12, but it’s still a nice start for Hunter.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

Never too early to look ahead: 2011 NFL Draft Board

Its never too early to look ahead to next year. So with that in mind, lets unveil DraftAce’s first 2011 draft board. We’ve ranked the top 32 draft-eligible players (seniors, juniors and redshirt sophomores) and have compared them to a current NFL player. Obviously they won’t all live up to these expectations, but think of it as a “best case scenario” comparison.

1. Ryan Mallett – JR – QB – Arkansas
Mallett certainly looks the part (6’6″) and has a rocket arm. He was inconsistent at times in 2009, but it was his first year leading the Razorbacks’ offense after transferring from Michigan. Expect big things from him in 2010. NFL Comparison: Joe Flacco

2. Cameron Heyward – SR – DE – Ohio State
The son of Craig “Ironhead” Heyward was a 1st-round lock, potentially as the top defensive end selected, had he entered this year’s draft. He returned to Ohio State, however, where he’ll continue to dominate as a defensive end/tackle ‘tweener. He has the size to play in a 3-4 scheme, but also has the athleticism to be a compete pass rusher/run stuffer in a 4-3. NFL Comparison: Mario Williams

3. Robert Quinn – JR – DE North Carolina
Quinn could be the premier pass rusher in next year’s draft. He terrorized ACC quarterbacks as a sophomore in 2009 and with defensive line mate Marvin Austin back for the 2010 season he should continue to improve. NFL Comparison: Tamba Hali

4. A.J. Green – JR – WR – Georgia
Green burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2008 and continued to dominate the SEC in ’09. At 6’4″, 208 pounds he has the size to be a true No. 4 receiver. NFL Comparison: Randy Moss

5. Gabe Carimi – SR – OT – Wisconsin
Carimi took over for Joe Thomas as a freshman in 2007 and lived up to expectations from day one. The similarities to Thomas eerie. They have a similar build and a remarkably similar skill set. Both have the athleticism to excel as pass blockers but also play with a mean streak that allows them to dominate in the running game. NFL Comparison: Joe Thomas

6. Patrick Peterson – JR – CB – LSU
Peterson has the size of a free safety (6’1″, 211 pounds) but the athleticism to a shutdown corner. If he fulfills expectations as a junior, he could be one of the highest-rated corners to enter the draft in a number of years. NFL Comparison: Charles Woodson

7. Blaine Gabbert – JR – QB – Missouri
With just one year under his belt as a starter, we still have a lot to learn about Gabbert. As a sophomore, he looked like a future star. He has an NFL body with a strong arm and more than adequately filled the shoes of Missouri legend Chase Daniel. NFL Comparison: Phillip Rivers

8. Marvin Austin – SR – DT – North Carolina
Austin turned down a guaranteed stop in the 2010 1st-round because he wanted to return to school to have an Ndamukong Suh-like senior year. Its a lofty goal, you have to admire his dedication. If he comes close to fulfilling his own expectations he’ll find himself in the early half of the 1st round.
NFL Comparison: Kyle Williams

9. Greg Romeus – SR – DE – Pittsburgh
Romeus is yet another player who had a chance to come off the board in the 1st round in 2009, but elected to return to school. Romeus isn’t strong as Heyward or as quick as Quinn, but he’s a complete play who can excel against the run and the pass.
NFL Comparison: Justin Tuck

10. Jared Crick – JR – DT – Nebraska
Ndamukong Suh wasn’t the only force to be reckoned with on the Cornhuskers defensive line in 2009. Crick obviously has a ways to go before he can be compared to Suh, but he has a similar skill set and may actually be better against the run than his former teammate.
NFL Comparison: Darnell Dockett

11. Andrew Luck – SO – QB – Stanford
With Toby Gerhart out of the picture in Stanford, the Cardinal offense will no focus on Luck. He had flashes of greatness as a redshirt-freshman in 2009 and should take major strides this season now that the offense will be built around his arm.
NFL Comparison: Aaron Rodgers

12. Allen Bailey – SR – DT – Miami FL
After a surprising two-year drought, Miami could return to the 1st round in 2011. Bailey is an athletic three-technique tackle who excels at busting up plays in the backfield. He led the Hurricanes with 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2009.
NFL Comparison: Kevin Williams

13. Michael Floyd – JR – WR – Notre Dame
Golden Tate received much of the attention this past season, but Floyd is the better pro prospect. He has elite size and strength for a receiver and enough speed to stretch the field. He’ll make his presence felt immediately as a red zone target.
NFL Comparison: Andre Johnson

14. Ryan Williams – SO – RB – Virginia Tech
As a redshirt freshman in 2009 Williams was arguably the nation’s best running back, yet flew under the radar due to Virginia Tech’s somewhat disappointing season. He posted five 150-yard games and dominated and finished 5th in the nation in rushing. If he builds upon that success he’ll find himself in the Heisman race and in the mix to be the top available running back in the 2011 draft.
NFL Comparison: DeAngelo Williams

15. Von Miller – SR – LB – Texas A&M
Miller burst onto the scene in 2009 playing a hybrid DE/OLB position for the Aggies, essentially acting as a pass-rush specialist. He led the nation with 16.5 sacks and ranked among the leaders in tackles for loss as well.
NFL Comparison: Shaun Phillips

16. Rahim Moore – JR – S – UCLA
Had Moore been eligible to enter the 2010 draft it would be him, not Earl Thomas, pushing Eric Berry for spot atop the draft boards at safety. Like Thomas, Moore is a ball-hawking free safety but has the size to help out against the run as well.
NFL Comparison: Kerry Rhodes

17. Bruce Carter – SR – LB – North Carolina
Carter will be a tough prospect to judge next season because he’s undersized. At only 225 pounds certain teams will scratch him off their list from the start. However, you can’t deny the fact that he’s a playmaker. He’ll fit nicely into someone’s 4-3 scheme at weakside linebacker.
NFL Comparison: Thomas Davis

18. Julio Jones – JR – WR – Alabama
Jones has the size and athleticism needed to excel at the next level. However, after a dominant freshman season he regressed in 2009. He caught just four touchdown passes in 2009 and had just one 100-yard game. He’ll need to bounce back in a big way in order to hang on to this slot in the top 32.
NFL Comparison: Randy Moss

19. Greg Jones – SR – LB – Michigan State
Jones is another player that cracks the top 32 based on potential rather than production. He’s already an effective against the run, but as an inside linebacker he needs to develop his skills in coverage. He has the athleticism of a top-10 pick, but he needs to become more disciplined to live up to his full potential.
NFL Comparison: DeMeco Ryans

20. Jake Locker – SR – QB – Washington
Numerous draftniks have Locker as the top-rated quarterback, but I’m not sold just yet. He’s a potential 1st-round pick based on potential, but he’s been just an average collegiate quarterback to this point in his career. His athleticism is unmatched by anyone else in this draft class, but that’s a small piece of the puzzle. He’s reckless with the football (11 interceptions) and has completed just 53 percent of his career pass attempts.
NFL Comparison: Donovan McNabb

21. Deunta Williams – SR – S – North Carolina
Williams is a ball-hawking free safety but also has the size to play strong safety in the pros. That versatility will help his draft stock next season and makes him the top senior prospect at safety.
NFL Comparison: Darren Sharper

22. Nate Solder – SR – OT – Colorado
Solder came to Boulder as tight end but switched to tackle as a sophomore in 2008. He’s still developing as a left tackle, but his upside is unlimited. At 6’9″ he has the size and athleticism to dominate the position for years to come. With an impressive senior year he could easily climb into the top five.
NFL Comparison: D’Brickashaw Ferguson

23. Chris Galippo – JR – LB – USC
Galippo may be the next great linebacker to come from Southern Cal. Like the rest of his teammates, he didn’t quite live up to expectations in 2009, but the bulk of the Trojans’ defense return for 2010 and big things are expected from the unit which is led by Galippo. He’s an instinctive linebacker who will only continue to get better with experience.
NFL Comparison: James Laurinaitis

24. Jamie Harper -JR – RB – Clemson
Harper is a bit of wildcard at this point, having only played in a backup role to this point in his career. He was brilliant as C.J. Spiller’s backup in 2009 and will become the focal point of the Tigers’ offense this season. He’s a powerful downhill runner (5’11″, 230 pounds) who has the strength to carry the load at the next level.
NFL Comparison: Michael Turner

25. Nate Potter – JR – OT – Boise State
Like Ryan Clady in 2008, it will be tough to judge Potter until the offseason workouts. He has dominated Boise State’s WAC opponents, but its a weak conference and he simply isn’t facing the talent which he will see in the NFL. He certainly appears to have the athleticism to take his game to the next level though, and his stock could skyrocket over of the course of the next year.
NFL Comparison: Michael Oher

26. Kyle Rudolph – JR – TE – Notre Dame
Notre Dame hasn’t exactly churned out elite skill position players in recent years, but that could change in 2011 as both Michael Floyd and Rudolph could come off the board in the 1st round. Rudolph has the size and athleticism to develop into a well-rounded tight end who can dominate as both a blocker and receiver in the NFL.
NFL Comparison: Jason Witten

27. DeAndre McDaniel – SR – S – Clemson
2011 figures to bring us another deep class of safeties. McDaniels toyed with the idea of entering this year’s draft class, but wisely stayed in school and could find himself in the 1st round in 2011. He has the size to play strong safety, but has the ball skills of a free safety – a combination which will help his value immensely.
NFL Comparison: Brandon Meriweather

28. Marcell Dareus – JR – DE – Alabama
Dareus is a stout lineman who excels in run defense, but also contributes as a pass rusher. He led the Crimson Tide in sacks in 2009 and they’re expecting big things from him this upcoming season. He’s a versatile prospect who could play end in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme and may also be able to transition to tackle in the 4-3.
NFL Comparison: Ty Warren

29. DaQuan Bowers – JR – DE – Clemson
Bowers has as much potential as anyone eligible to enter the 2011 draft class. He’s started from day one since coming to Clemson as a highly touted recruit in 2008. Bowers has just 4 sacks through his first two seasons, but we’re expecting big things from him in 2009. NFL Comparison: Trent Cole

30. Jerrell Powe – DT – Mississippi
As more and more teams switch to the 3-4 defense, the value of nose tackles is starting to skyrocket. Players such as Powe figure to see their stock rise far higher than similar players in years past. He’s a physical presence on the interior line, capable of taking on multiple blockers and anchoring a defensive line.
NFL Comparison: Vince Wilfork

31. Austin Pettis – SR – WR – Boise State
Pettis could become the first skill-position player selected in the 1st round from Boise State. He has the size and speed to take his game to the next level, but like anyone from Boise, he’ll need to prove he can compete at the highest level. As a team, the Broncos have earned the respect of the nation, but there’s still a lack of talent in the WAC which doesn’t fully prepare players for the NFL the way a BCS conference does.
NFL Comparison: Sidney Rice

32. Casey Matthews – SR – LB – Oregon
One thing I learned from scouting Clay Matthews in 2009: never bet against the Matthews family. Like his other brother, Casey doesn’t have elite physical talents but he has become the leader of the Ducks defense and has the instincts to excel at the next level.
NFL Comparison: Paul Posluszny

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 3 Comments