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2011 NFL Scouting Combine: Colorado T Nate Solder

We touched on Colorado OT Nate Solder yesterday in our wrap-up article, but I'll reiterate here: he's a huge dude.  6'8", 319 lbs.  I walked right behind him, and didn't get to his shoulders (I'm 6'0").  He answered questions yesterday, so wanted to give you some thoughts on what he had to say.

First he was asked where he thought he fit into the huge glut of Tackles:

That's hard for me to say, that's up to the teams that pick us. Each one of us does things a little differently and it's going to come down to the team that wants us.

Nice, diplomatic answer, and a stark contrast to Wisconsin T Gabe Carimi when asked a similar question:

Because of the players I've gone against, four potential first-round players I've gone against this year. I have a better resume of going against better talent than anyone else, so that makes me more (pro) ready.

I'm physically stronger and have more career starts and better knowledge of the game than any other tackle out there. That's why I'm the No. 1 tackle out there.

Lots of confidence coming from Madison.  I'm not sure which attitude I like better, as I keep going back and forth.

When asked about criticisms thrown his way:

I've been playing tackle for three years so there's things I need to work on in my technique constantly. So I take some of that with a grain of salt. But the people that know what they're talking about, that I listen to, I do take that.

Ability to listen, and take action after criticism is a great trait to have.  What specifically does he think he needs to work on?

I think I need to work on staying low and get in good position for every player. I think the worry of being a taller guy is not being able to bend and the thing I've done to counteract that is to show I can bend, work on stay on staying bent. Now, the advantages are you've got a lot bigger wingspan and it's a lot harder to run around you.

Like I've said a couple times now, he's huge.  I've seen many times Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis take that severe angle to get underneath a tall OT, so while the big wingspan can help against the bull-rushers, could he stop a guy like Mario Williams or James Harrison?

Cal's Cameron Jordan is one of the top DE in this year's draft class, and Solder struggled against him last year:

Well, that was a breakdown in technique from me. You learn not to take anyone for granted and that guy played a heck of a game and you've got to give it to him and no matter who you go against you can't break down in your technique. That was just a fundamental error on my part.

It seems like a lot of what's being said about Solder is true:  He's still learning the game (only been playing OT for 3 years), and he's had some trouble against the elite college DE. That's not to say he can't be coached correctly, but I see why he's been tabbed with the "raw talent" tag.

Lastly, the lighter side of Solder.  On his hometown of Buena Vista, CO, and what he'd be doing if he wasn't playing football:

It is a small town, it's in the mountains, right on the Continental Divide, west of Colorado Springs, Colorado. You fish, you hunt, it's a gorgeous area with, I don't know, 10 or 14 fourteeners (mountains of 14,000 feet) right within a 100-mile radius, it's an amazing place.

I hope I would end up outside, studying animals and plants, a game warden or something like that.

My first thought was "just another hippie from Boulder, huh?", but he later explained how he loved hunting, and how he could be a game warden, along with a hunter.  It was a pretty funny exchange, and solidified his non-hippie status.  Boulder has enough hippies as it is.

Nate Solder Combine Interview