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2011 NFL Draft, 50 in 50: Nate Solder - OT - Colorado (45 of 50)


Author's Note: I missed a couple days throughout the 50 players in 50 days so I will be posting two a day for the next three days.

As the draft gets closer, some players stocks continued to rise and fall throughout the offseason. Some of the players that were slotted to go high to mid first round are now being considered possible second and third rounders in some cases.

The offseason process is there for a reason. All the hoops that these players have to jump through will ultimately land them where they are just before the draft.

The list I put together as this process unfolded had some players that I may not have even included if I had a crystal ball.

The offensive line for the San Francisco 49ers last year was a bit better than the year before. However, "a bit better" was not exactly where it needed to be in order to have success both in the run game, as well as the pass. By the end of the year though, the 49ers offensive line seemed to be gelling together and playing more as a unit than individuals as they had in years previous.

The offensive tackle positions have been very instable. Joe Staley has had his share of injuries and has been fairly streaky in regards to performance game to game. In some games he seems like the first rounder that the Niners drafted in 2007, and at other times it seems as thought the 49ers over shot on that pick. Rookie right tackle, Anthony Davis struggled often with the offsides penalties among others in 2010. Besides that, he did start showing some promise in run blocking; he was still a liability in pass protection though. The good news for Davis, is that he was only 20-years old in his rookie year. He has many more years ahead of him to show that he was worthy of the selection and trade-up to get him.

This does raise the question... Do the 49ers need to draft a tackle in this draft? And if so, where?

Below the jump, we will take a look at one of the better prospects at the tackle position this year in Nate Solder.

In this video here, you will see that Solder has very long arms and keeps defenders off the line of scrimmage quite well. He demonstrates very good instincts in pass protection. However, in run blocking, he at times, seems a bit slow. The quicker linebackers and defensive linemen could wind up getting the better of him in shedding blocks rather quickly. Solder's game is more geared toward a passing offense.


Summary: At this point, Solder is a very difficult player to read. He has shown signs of being very capable at the next level but on the same note has shown signs of potentially busting. I believe that a team that plays the game with heavy doses of passing will draft Solder. Possibilities of the Colts, Patriots, Packers, Chargers, or Saints seem like good places for him to wind up. If he gets drafted to a team that does not pass often, or even comes in with a balanced game plan, I think it's very probable that Solder would struggle for a while. However, his tangibles lead me to believe that he will still be, no later than a second day selection. He may go as high as the third tackle off the board.

PREDICTION: Late 1st Round - 2nd Round. There is a slight possibility that Solder could slide to the 3rd.