Potential Trade Up Target: Nate Solder, T, Colorado

Although some fans might groan at the thought, there is a chance Mike Tannenbaum will look to move up in the first round of the Draft to target a player he might want. One such guy is Colorado tackle Nate Solder.

A former tight end, Solder has been learning the tackle position the past three years. By his senior year, he was a First Team All American. As one might discern from his former position, Solder is very nimble and athletic. He is quick in short areas and has good burst dropping back off the ball into pass protection.

What is really enticing about Solder is his frame. He is 6'8" and 320 pounds. He has room to bulk up further. Over the course of his career at Colorado, he improved his physicality in his run blocking after starting out as more of a pure athlete moving from tight end.

His big issues are technical ones. Relatively new to the position, there are times where he plays too high and does not gain proper leverage. While improving, he is still a work in progress driving guys in the run game. He also needs to learn how to use his hands effectively on a more consistent basis.

I personally think Solder would be a match made in heaven for the Jets. He might be too raw to start immediately at right tackle, but the Jets could use Wayne Hunter as a stopgap until he is ready. Unlike many teams, the Jets need a right tackle instead of a left tackle so the learning curve would be less steep. Right tackle is easier since it is not on the quarterback's blind side. Solder's biggest issues are technical due to a lack of experience at the position. He has shown a willingness to work and has greatly improved from when he first started at the position. The Jets have arguably the best offensive line teacher in the game in Bill Callahan. He has the necessary athleticism to thrive as a pass protector, and once he adds more bulk to his considerable frame, he can become a force in the run game. The Jets want maulers to run to the right side.

I am not saying the Jets should definitely trade up, but I think doing so for a Solder type player would be completely defensible. A team can never go wrong improving its offensive line early in the Draft. See the 2006 first round selections of D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold for evidence. I guess you could argue it would raise questions about Vladimir Ducasse, but Vlad could become heir apparent to Brandon Moore. If there even a debate that the good from having a couple of excellent young linemen on the right side would vastly outdo any bad from Gary Myers writing a few snarky articles about the Jets admitting they made a mistake on Ducasse?

If Solder falls into the 20's, he could become a trade target. He probably would not fall to 30, but stranger things have happened.

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