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AFC East top 25, No. 23: Patriots LT Nate Solder

Posted by Erik Frenz  May 10, 2013 08:00 AM

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Counting down the top 25 players in the AFC East, one player at a time, one day at a time.

Why Nate Solder?

Former Patriots left tackle Matt Light will always have a place in Patriots history, but Nate Solder didn't make the Patriots long for the days where Light was the anchor of the line.

Solder was penalized just four times all season, while playing at least 150 snaps more than any offensive tackle who had fewer penalties.

After starting 13 games at right tackle, Solder moved to the left in 2012. He anchored a line that allowed Tom Brady to be pressured on just 25 percent of his drop-backs, the second-lowest percentage in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.

Solder himself was highly protective of Brady. He gave up just four sacks while playing the sixth-most pass-blocking snaps among offensive tackles. He allowed just five hurries, six hits and one sack in the team's final six games. He's also ultra-reliable, having played more total snaps in 2012 than any other offensive tackle.

Consider the competition he faced last season: Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, Bills defensive end Mario Williams, Colts outside linebacker Dwight Freeney, Texans defensive end Antonio Smith and others. The tests are always tall for Solder at left tackle, but luckily for Solder, he's a tall guy at 6'8" and is up to the challenge.

Did you know?

Nate Solder was drafted with the 17th overall selection in 2011, the same number pick the Patriots used to draft center Damien Woody in 1999.

Check back every morning as we reveal one player a day on our way to No. 1 in the top 25.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Erik Frenz delivers analysis of the biggest news with the Patriots, including insight into the AFC East and New England's biggest rivals from a Patriots perspective. Erik is an interactive writer who engages his audience in his posts’ comments sections and on Twitter. Readers are encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions. More »


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