Our first Mock Draft has the Giants taking Colorado offensive lineman, Nate Solder. When I saw this, I realized I haven’t done a profile on Solder yet. What better time than right now.

Nate Solder
Senior, OT
Colorado
6-9, 315

First report, from the National Football Post:

A physical specimen for the position who possesses a rare combination of size, length and overall athleticism. You can tell he’s a former tight end by the way he lines up in a three-point stance at times, as he exhibits good flexibility and can keep his base down. Has improved on his kick-slide this year, but will get overextended quickly and open up his hips vs. speed off the edge. Does a much better job staying clean and compact with his footwork when he knows he has help on the outside in the form of a chip. However, when left on an island, hes more athlete than technician and despite his good lateral quickness, he can be exposed to the “up and under.” Possesses good range off the edge despite the fact at times he is forced to open up his hips. However, I would like to see him do a better job keeping his hands up and set on his kick-slide and be ready to punch at any time. Too often gets his hands down around his waist and struggles to anchor and fight off undersized defensive ends who want to get under him when flattening out around the edge. However, can sit into his stance vs. the bull rush, does a nice job working his arms/hands for inside leverage, slides his feet well through contact and can stick to blocks through the play.

Now, he is a gifted athlete in space and showcased better pop and power as a run blocker than given credit. Has the ability to sit into his stance, gain leverage into contact, extend his arms and finish with a strong lower body push. Can consistently drive defenders off the ball as an in-line guy one-on-one, but at times will get overextended and fall off blocks after initial contact. Looks natural on the move as well and has the ability to get into blocks quickly and create a bit of a surge at the point of attack. Breaks down well in space, exhibits some short-area quickness and can routinely seal his target.

Impression: A guy who will likely be over drafted based on upside — and rightfully so, as he has the skill set to be as good as he wants to be in the NFL. However, has a lot of cleaning up to be entrusted as a left tackle early in his NFL career and I could see him being better suited to play on the right side because of his ability to win in the run game. Reminds me some of former second-round pick Sebastian Vollmer.

Second, from CBS Sports:

Pass blocking: Solder’s length and athleticism makes him a prototypical pass protector on the blind side. Very difficult to get around when he bends his knees and is smooth in his lateral movement. Resets his hands quickly after initial contact, manages to anchor after a strong initial bull rush. Agile and long enough to combo block down and still push blitzing linebackers around the pocket. Also handles twists and stunts well.

Run blocking: Very willing and able run blocker on the edge with exceptional mobility for his size. Good get-off and upper-body strength allows him to latch onto defensive ends and stand-up defenders and take them out of the play. Despite his height, he plays with leverage at the point of attack and can widen his base to anchor.

Pulling/trapping: Does not work behind the line very often from the left tackle spot, but his combination of size and mobility should allow him to do so at the next level.

Initial Quickness: Gets off the snap fairly well for his size, but is inconsistent with his kick-slide and hand quickness, which could cause problems for him against better NFL ends. Able to deliver a pop as a drive blocker, stopping defensive ends in their tracks or even pushing his man off the line of scrimmage.

Downfield: Exceptional feet and agility make him a threat to take out defenders in space. Very quick getting to the second and third levels. Locates targets well downfield, keeps his feet moving to gain the correct angle and hands strong and active to latch onto linebackers and move them out of the play.

Intangibles: Owns the work ethic to become a Pro Bowl offensive tackle. In the spring of 2009, he was awarded the John Wooten Award for outstanding work ethic and the offensive line’s Iron Buffalo Award for hard work, dedication, toughness and total poundage lifted in the weight room.

Compares to: Robert Gallery, ex-Raiders — Solder is not coming into the draft with the hype Gallery did out of Iowa in 2004, but their size and athleticism are remarkably similar. The fact Gallery ended up a guard for the Raiders, even though he’s a Pro-Bowl caliber one, can’t settle well with teams considering Solder for their open left tackle spot.

If teams are willing to live with a year of development, with coaching and strength training, the payoff could be really big. A lot of scouts have Solder outside of their top-3 offensive tackles, but there is a lot of talent at the top of this year’s class.