With the Cowboys headed for the top of the draft board come April, we thought we'd get a jump start on introducing you to the players who could wind up being a big part of the next Cowboys team. Next up is Nate Solder.
Name: Nate Solder
Position: Offensive Tackle
Why He Should Be the Pick: As we discussed last week, there's not much of a secret about the need for a tackle on the Dallas offensive line. Whether it is Solder, Tyron Smith or someone else, the best offensive tackle on the board needs to get serious consideration with the ninth overall pick.
There's a pretty good chance Solder wins that particular blue ribbon. At 6'8", he's got the frame to go from 300 pounds to a more ideal bulk for a NFL protector without losing any of the speed he's flashed while opening holes for the Buffaloes. Like plenty of other college players, Solder's performance fluctuated from game to game and play to play, but he's giving signs that he's got what it takes to thrive as a professional.
Every report from the Senior Bowl is making room for a rave review of Solder's play. The one point that's most intriguing has to do with the nastiness he has shown in his battles with other projected first rounders as he finishes blocks on every play while hitting through the whistle. You don't necessarily want a Flozell Adams-type of nastiness at tackle, but you do want a guy who plays with an edge protecting Tony Romo.
Why He Won't Be the Pick: When we profiled Smith last week, we talked about his size and athleticism. These things can be a matter of which guy has a better day while working out for your coaching staff or who seems like a better fit for your particular scheme. It's still a bit early in the process to know how all of that is going to play out, regardless of how well Solder is playin at Senior Bowl practices.
Likelihood: Looking better with every passing day, especially when you hear Jerry Jones say things like, "You look at numbers, you've got five positions on the offensive line and certainly that gives you a chance to address that area because of the numbers of players that you play in that unit."
Like a toddler, Jones is apt to get distracted by the next shiny thing to cross his path but the fact that Solder's star is on the rise serves him well. He's definitely a name to keep in mind over the next couple of months.
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