FOXBORO -- The 2012 NFL Draft will be much easier on Nate Solder than last year's -- he's not in it.
"This time last year, I didn't know where I was going to be," he told the media after Thursday's OTA. "I didn't know how to train. I hadn't played a single snap in an NFL game. I didn't know who any of my teammates were going to be. Now, there's some things that are kind of answered, and places I can focus my energy on some of the things I can improve on.
"I'd like to get bigger stronger, maybe taller," the 6-foot-8 tackle laughed. "Understand the playbook better. Going into my second year, I want to continue to progress and get better."
One thing that will help: packing on some pounds. Solder didn't acknowledge whether or not the team gave him the directive, rather, he credited the goal to "personal development." The trouble is in doing it; he said he's been struggling to gain weight since he was a freshman at Colorado.
"It's not hard to gain a lot of weight that's not going to help you play football. So when I say it's hard to gain weight, it's hard because it takes a lot in the weight room. You've got to be lifting hard because you want to gain muscle and you want to stay fast, you want to stay flexible and those sorts of things, too. "
A steady diet -- four to five meals a day and protein in between -- is Solder's current course. He said he's grateful to have a more narrow field of vision for his second season in the NFL. Those little things, like knowing where the locker room is, will be problems for a new crop of kids.
"It's certainly nice to be able to focus, where before, it was a broad range of things that I had to prepare for. Now, there are select things. I think it helps your confidence. But your confidence is really going to be built up in camp and playing well, and I'm just building toward that."