Agility: As a former tight end, Solder has as much agility as you’d want in an offensive lineman. He has quick feet and can move around with ease. Displays good flexibility for the position.
Movement: Unlike most tackles, Solder is used on the move quite a bit. He’s good pulling on the run and can effortlessly move to the far side of the line. Is good attacking on the second level. Has the footwork and straight-line speed to make blocks deep down the field.
Pass blocking: Likes to take a wide step to the outside to beat speed rushers to the corner. Uses his long arms to really drive pass rushers out of the play. Will struggle at times to turn to his right to block the inside rush after his kick slide. However, Solder is quick reset his feet in pass protection so this discrepancy should coachable. The other coaching point Solder will face is rising high out of his stance. When he does, Solder gets move around by linemen who are strong and quick.
Quickness: The first step Solder has is one of the better ones in this year’s class. He’s quick moving to the outside in pass protection. In the run game, Solder comes off the snap with good pace.
Run blocking: Most look at Solder’s tall frame and consider him solely a pass blocker. Not so. If anything, Solder is a better run blocker than most give him credit for. He’s strong in his arms and chest and uses that power to neutralize defenders.
Strength: Solder has deceptive strength despite possessing a frame that would make you think otherwise. Is especially strong in his upper body. You can tell Solder improved his strength between his junior and senior seasons. In 2009, Solder got pushed around, but he became more stout in 2010. Has a long frame that will support considerably more bulk.
Technique: This is the area where Solder needs to improve. He doesn’t have good follow through technique in pass protection. That’s to mean he gets good initial hand placement but doesn’t maintain throughout the play. Solder isn’t always fluid in his shuffle and tends to get sloppy in his footwork. Needs to come off the snap low to maintain leverage. The term sitting in chair as a blocker rarely applies to Solder.
Final word: A converted tight end, Solder remains a work in progress as a blocker. His technique is extremely raw and he’ll need a lot of refinement. With that, it’s surprising Solder has been as good as he’s been. A first team AP All-American in 2010, Solder has more upside than any early round lineman in this year’s draft.
As for draft status, Solder looks like a late first-round pick by our estimations. He will fit in well as a zone blocking tackle, which fits what the Colts, Chiefs and Packers like to do. All three pick at the end of Round 1 and could use help at offensive tackle.