|Nate Solder is signed, sealed and delivered to the Patriots||08.04.11 at 6:12 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Before their practice Thursday afternoon outside Gillette Stadium, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick confirmed the signing of first-round pick Nate Solder. Solder, a left tackle out of Colorado, was taken with the 17th pick overall in April’s draft and was one of three remaining unsigned first-round picks in the NFL before Thursday.
With Solder agreeing to terms, the Patriots have all nine draft picks under contract and in camp.
Solder, who was drafted to provide future depth behind 11-year veteran left tackle Matt Light, was signed just in time for him to be on the practice field on Thursday, the first day of practice under the new NFL calendar year. Solder was out on the field wearing No. 77, last worn by Nick Kaczur, who was released last Friday.
At 6-foot-8, and nearly 320 pounds, Solder figures to start his career behind Matt Light, who agreed to a new contract on Tuesday. Solder began his college career as a tight end before becoming an All-American offensive tackle and – as a senior – was a finalist for the Outland Trophy for the best college football offensive lineman.
Beyond his size, Solder, 23, is considered very durable, having played in a remarkable 2,540 out of a possible 2,542 plays on offense from the beginning of his sophomore season through the end of his senior year.
Overall, he started in 36 of 49 total games during his college career, including four as a tight end in 2007.
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