Solder makes impression on mates

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- No worries about how first-round draft choice Nate Solder is fitting in among his new teammates. The offensive line is one of the tight-knit units on the team and they've taken Solder in quickly.

"Nate's a good guy, we all like him," left guard Logan Mankins relayed Monday. "We enjoy having him here."

Solder, selected with the 17th overall pick, has proven to be a quick study at left tackle. Despite not having the benefit of offseason camps, and then missing the first week of training camp while contract negotiations continued, he's stepped right in and held his own.

On Thursday night in Tampa, he played into the third quarter. The coaching staff showed confidence in him by opening the game with quarterback Tom Brady in the shotgun with an empty set (no one in the backfield with Brady to serve as an added pass protector), which left Solder one-on-one protecting his blind side.

"He's done a great job," Mankins said. "He came in and had all the basics of the plays down; a few guys helped him out with that. He was ready to move on and he's worked hard. He's always in there studying, working out, taking notes. When you do that, you're going to give yourself a good chance."

Mankins also pointed to some of the things veterans look for in draft picks like Solder.

"He takes coaching, wants to get better, works hard," he said. "Those are the main things you want from a young guy coming into this league."