Curran: No sizzle, just Solder for Patriots

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Curran: No sizzle, just Solder for Patriots

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com

The Patriots took a left tackle. A good, solid left tackle. Nate Solder is a 319-pound plate of broccoli for the program. He's good for them. His next 10 years will likely be spent making sure Tom Brady's retirement years are fairly pain-free, then protecting the blindside of Brady's much-scrutinized successor. "Hes played left tackle and I think that will be his position in the National Football League," Bill Belichick said early Friday morning after the first round of the 2011 draft was put to bed. "I think his position is the one hes been playing. Its still obviously a different level of play and his techniques and there are a lot of things that hell have to improve on. But hes a smart guy, hard-working kid, hes already graduated (from Colorado), hes a good worker, so hopefully hell take the coaching that he gets from our staff and Dante (Scarnecchia, the Pats' offensive line coach) and be able to improve and develop at a position that he has some experience at."And that, as they say, is that. No oohhs, no aaahhhhs, no posters, minimal jersey sales. I appreciate what some people may be wondering: "WHERE'S THE PASS RUSHAHHHHH!?!?!?!?"It's a valid question. Pocket crushers, edge crashers and all manner of havoc-causing front-seven players were on the board in the first round. The Patriots could have jumped up a couple of spots from 17 and gotten North Carolina's Robert Quinn who went to the Rams at 13. Or Ryan Kerrigan who went to Jacksonville at 16. Or simply taken Cam Jordan at 17 (the Cal defensive end went to New Orleans at 24). They spent some time trying to trade down at 17 but nothing materialized. So, in the end,a left tackle to succeed Matt Light and protect the franchise's most valuable commodity was just as strong a need.Wes Bunting of the National Football Posttold me,"Solder is agood fit for New England. His best football is still ahead of him. A little more athlete than football player at this point because he's still learning how to play."You'd have to expect the Patriots to make a pitch to keepLight -- an unrestricted free agent -- for another year or two just to keep the spot warm while Solder develops. Light, judging by 2010, still has good football left in him. When the 28th pick rolled around, you knew the Patriots would again look to deal. And that time they did, sending No. 28 to New Orleans and picking up another first-rounder for 2012 and adding a third second-round pick for Friday. They passed on Alabama running back Mark Ingram, Temple defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (who went to the hated Jets at 30) and Ohio State's Cam Heyward (31 to the Steelers). But, as Belichick pointed out, "We feel like there are players on the board that will give us good value at our picks that we have tomorrow." Will they use those picks? Specifically No. 33? That's the question. New England will surely get an offer similar to the one they got at 28 -- a first-rounder next year and a fourth second-rounder in 2011. But will they be down with letting so many good players go off the board between 17 and whenever their next pick arrives? That's what the Patriots will weigh between whenever you read this and 6 p.m. Friday evening. Take a front-seven guy -- Justin Houston from Georgia, Da'Quan Bowers from Clemson, Jabaal Sheard, the Big East Defensive Player of the Year from Pitt, Arizona's Brooks Reed -- or trade down again. The Patriots didn't do anything to make your heart race Thursday night. But their priority is to make September through January exciting, not April. Tom E. Curran canbe reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Belichick: Pats see Garcia as left tackle

Belichick: Pats see Garcia as left tackle

FOXBORO -- The bullet points from Bill Belichick on the team’s second pick in this year’s draft, Troy left tackle Antonio Garcia:

- He’s a person.
- He’s a left tackle. 
- He has played tackle and will play tackle. 
- He visited with the Patriots. 
- We’re not sure if he’ll play guard at any point. 
- We’ll see how it goes. 

That’s generally as forthcoming as Belichick was regarding Garcia, a player for whom the Pats moved up from No. 96 to No. 85. Garcia’s selection came two picks after the team made Youngstown State pass-rusher Derek Rivers their first selection of the draft at No. 83. 

“He was here last week; [we] had a good visit with him,” Belichick said of Garcia. “So we’ll see how that goes, but we think he’ll be competitive. He’s done a good job for them down there.” 

Asked whether the lanky 6-foot-6 player could play guard, Belichick was noncommittal. 

“I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes,” he said. “He’s played tackle. He’s got the length and I think the athleticism to play tackle, but we’ll see how he does. I don’t know.” 

As for which side, Belichick viewed Garcia “primarily” as a left tackle.  
 

Former Jet botches J-E-T-S spelling during pick

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Former Jet botches J-E-T-S spelling during pick

FOXBORO -- The NFL had former and current players announce picks during the second and third rounds of the NFL draft Friday night. Some went better than others. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Jets were one of the teams that exerienced less-than-smooth sailing. Former Jets fullback Tony Richardson, who was announcing the team's selection at No. 79 overall, attempted the team's "J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets" cheer, but whiffed on the spelling. 

"With the 79th pick in the 2017 NFL draft," Richardson said, "the New York J-E-T-E Jets select ArDarius Stewart, receiver, Alabama."