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Draft day memories: It was a ‘comfortable and relaxing’ start for Nate Solder

04.23.12 at 4:39 pm ET
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Nate Solder got his first look at Gillette Stadium the day after he was drafted, courtesy of the Kraft family. (AP)

With the NFL draft set for this week, we’re taking a look back at some draft day memories with some of the current Patriots. First up, tackle Nate Solder, who was New England’s first pick in the 2011 draft.

While many of last year’s top picks in the NFL draft spent the first night of the event at Radio City Music Hall, Nate Solder was roughly 2,000 miles away at a far less glamorous locale — Peri & Ed’s Mountain Hideaway in Leadville, Colo.

His parents’ bed and breakfast (described on Trip Advisor as “comfortable and relaxing”) was the first place where he found out he was a member of the New England Patriots.

“It’s an exciting time. I was at home, I remember, and I had all my family there,” he said, reflecting on that night a year ago where he started his NFL journey. “Like I said, I didn’t know where I was going to end up. I just hoped — I kept my mind off what the TV was saying, so I just kind of hoped that I ended up in a good program, and I was just lucky enough to end up [with the Patriots].”

Solder didn’t get a sense that the Patriots were interested until a few days before the draft when he was put through his paces by New England offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia in a private workout.

“I wasn’t surprised because people say be prepared for anything,” Solder said. “I was kind of prepared for odd things like that. I remember that meeting and I thought he was an exceptional coach.”

The 17th overall selection, the Colorado product appeared in all 19 of the Patriots’ games (16 regular season, three postseason), starting 15, including 13 at right tackle and two as part of a three tight-end alignment. He led all Patriots’ rookies in total snaps played, and became an integral part of the New England offensive line in his first season in the league.

But he certainly won’t forget the first steps of what is a yearlong journey.

“I remember coming into camp, I didn’t know what direction the field was. I didn’t know where the locker room was. I didn’t know anything,” Solder said. “Just to have those things under my belt [now] will be nice.”

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