Aldon Smith: Patriots have 99 problems and Nate Solder IS one

USA TODAY Sports

NN's GrantMP1 wrote this post on the face-off between Aldon Smith vs. Nate Solder while both were in college in 2009

The Lost Video: Aldon Smith vs. Nate Solder/Colorado (2009) - by GrantMP1

Why do the Niners have a chance against the Patriots? Because they have to face 99 problems (Aldon Smith) and they only have 1 Left Tackle. And the fact that that Left Tackle is Nate Solder...is 1 more problem.

The other night on twitter, I went on a bit of a rant about the rampant pessimism that characterized the conversation about the upcoming Niners game. There were a bunch of reasons why I'd worked through my anxiety about the matchup. First, it was Wednesday, and around about Wednesday, I'm always convinced that the Niners have solved all the problems that they faced the previous week. You can do with that what you will. Second, I thought back to the 49ers-Steelers game and remembered how dominant the 49ers were. 30-7. Boom.

The obvious caveat that goes along with that game was that it was against a team with obvious offensive line issues and Ben Roethlisberger, who could've been called Long John Silver with the way he was hobbling around on his peg leg. If Harbaugh could key his guys up for that game -- and the game against the Packers early this season, why couldn't he key them up for this one? After all, this is a game the 49ers dearly need if they are to guarantee themselves a spot in the playoffs and to maintain the lead that currently gives them a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Third and most importantly, however, was the Aldon Smith-Nate Solder matchup.

Before I jump to discussing the video, I'll give you full disclosure on my thoughts on Aldon Smith. When Baalke made him his first overall pick in the 2011 draft, I was pretty shocked. At that point I was convinced that the 49ers would pick Robert Quinn or that they would reach for a quarterback (Locker, Gabbert, or even Ponder). (And since I'm in full disclosure mode, I thought Ponder could be the best of them at the time.

I also was somewhat enamoured with Robert Quinn, which is somewhat less embarrassing than my Ponder infatuation. In any case, I'm obviously glad to have been so delightfully wrong.) When Aldon Smith's name popped up, my first thought was "reach," mostly because I hadn't heard very little buzz about him in the top 10. When I saw him, I thought "geez, this guy is huge, but he's like a year and a half older than the kids my wife teaches in high school. He's the Niners' pass rusher of the future?"

A couple of things made me feel better about the pick. I had read a bunch of scouting reports that talked about his limitless upside. He had played a season and a half after redshirting, playing as a redshirt freshman, and breaking his leg in the early part of his sophomore college season. So I was anxious about the small sample size. What I felt good about was the video posted below. It features the matchup between Aldon Smith of Missouri and Nate Solder of Colorado, who was picked later in the same first round in which Smith himself was drafted (precisely 10 picks later at #17 to the Patriots).

While Smith isn't matched up against Solder all the time, he does leave Solder grasping at air repeatedly in the video, and he is just really dominant overall, with 3 sacks, a tackle for a massive loss, a fumble recovery, and a JJ Watt-style pass defensed. Even more amazingly, he did this as a freshman. This is a video from 2009. Smith had barely played 8 college games at this point. Anyway, I'll quit blabbering on and just leave you the video at this point. Go Niners!

Oh, and kudos to Aaron Aloysius, who sent me the link to the video. Give him a follow

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