BOSTON (CBS) –New England Patriots rookie and first round pick Nate Solder doesn’t say a lot. In fact when he does speak, he tries his best to answer the questions but he does so very quickly.
His teammates, though, have high praise for the 23-year-old. Nate has been able to step in and play multiple positions on the offensive line and the Pats have not lost a step with him out there. The veterans on the squad know Solder’s value.
“I think, number one, he’s just very talented athletically,” said 11-year veteran Matt Light. “He gets it and with enormous size. I mean, the guy’s 6-foot-100, I don’t really know. He’s a rather large human being and he can move really well. And he really wants to finish each and every play. He wants to get better.”
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“He’s as good as any young player that I’ve ever played with,” said Brian Waters, in his first season with the Patriots after spending 11 years in Kansas City. “He’s got an immense amount of talent and he does a great job of working hard and getting on the details. He’s never comfortable. He’s always trying, week by week, to get better. He’s always asking questions. He’s a good young football player, who has plenty of room to grow, who can turn into a really great one eventually.”
That’s two vets on the line that, instead of watching the rookie and covering for his mistakes, say Solder has done his due diligence and fit in perfectly.
The Pats offensive line has another tough matchup, contending with a Broncos team that sacked Tom Brady twice and hit him three times back in Week 15. It looks as though the line will be at full strength, with both Logan Mankins and Sebastian Vollmer returning to practice this week.
But if either have to take time off, the Patriots are confident their first-round pick is up to the challenge.
Tune in to the Patriots-Broncos playoff game Saturday night at 8pm on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV. Pregame coverage begins Saturday at 5pm with Patriots Preview on 98.5, with a special edition of Patriots GameDay on WBZ-TV at 7pm. After the game, stay tuned for Patriots Postgame on The Hub, and Patriots 5th Quarter on WBZ-TV.