Even though he is an offensive lineman, Nate Solder had one of the most important jobs in the entire league… protecting Tom Brady. This makes him the New England Patriots biggest loss of free agency.
Offensive lineman don’t get the credit they deserve. They have to fight every play to protect the ball carrier. They are beasts, and the loss of Nate Solder leaves a deep hole in the New England Patriots O-line.
Solder has been protecting Tom Brady’s blindside for around 6 years. He has been the only thing stopping Brady from getting lit up like a Christmas tree.
Solder has been a great Left Tackle. The combination of Solder’s height and strength make him one of the best offensive lineman in the league. It is going to be pretty tough for the Patriots to find a replacement for Solder.
The Patriots options
So who should we expect the Patriots to go after? Let’s start in-house.
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I absolutely hate Cameron Fleming as a player. It seems everytime he enters a game he allows a sack. Brady isn’t made of glass, but he’s not made of steel either. As TB12 continues to age he needs to be protected. LaAdrian Waddle would be a better option, but he has had issues staying healthy. Neither of these guys have ever been a full-time starter, which is why the Patriots should look at picking someone up in the draft.
Kolten Miller from UCLA sticks out as someone who may be able to fill the void left by Solder. Miller is rather large standing at 6’8″ and weighing 300 pounds, which is very similar to Solder’s body type. Miller was named 2nd team All-Pac-12 conference last season, as the Bruins offense was third in the conference. Also in Miller’s first season of action he helped the offensive line allow the second fewest sacks in school history. If the Patriots are looking for a guy to replace Solder, Miller may be their guy.
He may not get the most recognition, but Solder really is the Patriots biggest loss this offseason.