BOSTON (CBS) — It’s nearly impossible to predict what the New England Patriots will do when draft day comes around.
Just ask Nate Solder, New England’s first round pick in the 2011 draft. The Patriots’ tackle joined Bob Socci on Sunday morning’s NFL Draft Preview Show on 98.5 The Sports Hub, and shared a few stories from the days and weeks leading up to the draft.
The Patriots expressed interest in Solder and had a pre-draft visit scheduled with the offensive lineman. But the team cancelled that visit the night before it was supposed to happen, and Solder didn’t think they would be selecting him when it came time for them to make their pick.
“It’s wild the way they do things. They cancelled the day before and really had me guessing,” Solder said of New England’s draft tactics. “I didn’t know what to expect. It’s unique the way they do things because they’re competitive at everything they do. The secrecy of the whole thing, it’s a neat process.”
Heading into his fourth NFL season protecting Tom Brady’s blind side, Solder couldn’t be happier to be a Patriot.
“They’ve exceeded expectations,” said Solder, who started 13 games his rookie season. “Even when I didn’t know any of the guys on the team, and getting to know them and the guys that coach me, it has been really outstanding. There have been so many blessings. Winning games is great, but having good people and like-minded people around you has been a great experience for me.”
Solder was a biology major at Colorado and spent time overseas on several charity missions during his college career. There were some concerns from some teams that he wasn’t “all in” when it came to football, and he said there was a little convincing to be done that he was serious about a career in the NFL.
“There was a little bit of that. It’s crazy; you go through college and they say ‘don’t worry about the pros, focus on good grades and the pros will happen.’ Then you get into the pros and they ask ‘why weren’t you focused on the pros?!’ I just said I was doing what they told me!” Solder joked.
Solder said that it was tiring listening to all the pre-draft talk leading up to draft day.
“There was a real lot of talk that went on between my senior season and before I ever played again. It was all about what kind of player I was and what kind of player I would be. I got tired of that and just wanted to play and go back to the game I loved,” he told Socci. “I wanted to stop talking about what I would be, because I didn’t know. It was up to their personnel and scouts to make their decision, because they know the pro game and I didn’t.
“It was a lot of talk and a lot of buildup for what was a little bit of a media blitz. I’m glad I’m here now and don’t have to worry about that,” he said with a laugh.
Solder also talked about his pre-draft training with fellow first-round picks Von Miller and Ryan Kerrigan: