Early buzz centers on 6-foot-8 Solder

(Ben Liebenberg/NFL)

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s believed that anywhere from four to five offensive tackles could be first-round picks in April’s draft. One who seems to be gaining momentum and generating early buzz at the NFL Scouting Combine is Colorado’s Nate Solder.

Solder registered at 6-foot-8 and 319 pounds Thursday. But what might leave teams intrigued is that Solder has just three years as a tackle after showing up at Colorado as a 235-pound tight end. He gained 25 pounds as a redshirt and nearly 60 more over the last three years, and even at his size, he has the lean build of a basketball center.

Solder said he’d be willing to put on weight if teams needed him to, and he believes he’d be able to maintain his athleticism. He told reporters during his group interview session that his height works two ways.

“I think the worry with being a tall guy is you can’t bend,” Solder said. “The things I’ve done to counteract that is to show that I can bend and to work on staying bent. The advantage is that you have a lot bigger wingspan and it’s a lot harder to run around you.”

I had to ask Solder about the simmering back-and-forth over who’s the best left tackle prospect.

“I’m not going to get involved in that,” Solder said. “I’ll let the teams decide that. I’m no pundit or anything.”

NFL Network analyst Charles Davis sees Solder as a player with a lot of upside and in the same grouping as the other top tackles as a first-round pick. NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks pegged Solder at No. 8 overall in his recent list of top 25 prospects.

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