FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots left tackle Nate Solder took part in a screening of the “Draft Day” movie featuring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner at Showcase Cinema at Patriot Place on Wednesday night, and he shared one of his own draft-day experiences in the process.
Solder relayed how he had a pre-draft visit scheduled with the Patriots that was canceled the night before. Thus, he had little idea the team would ultimately select him 17th overall in the 2011 draft.
Solder has since emerged as a solid blindside protector for quarterback Tom Brady and 2014 will mark a change for him in that he will no longer be coached by Dante Scarnecchia, who has retired.
“It is a big loss,” Solder said as he donned a blue AFC East championship T-shirt and reminded reporters the team's goals are higher than that. “He was so much a part of the team. I think with anything in this league, and with this team, you just kind of piece it together and keep moving forward. I think that’s what he wants and that’s what we fully expect will happen.”
Solder expects to maintain contact with Scarnecchia and highlighted how his style made him a better player by focusing on his weaknesses.
“He was always good at picking out the things I need work on and that would make me a better player,” he said. “That’s not always the case with every coach and I think he had a real good eye for that. He was really demanding, which is exactly what I needed to become a better player.
As for the coach replacing Scarnecchia, Dave DeGuglielmo, Solder said: “I spoke to him a little bit on the phone a few days ago, and I spoke to him a few years ago at the draft. We had a short conversation. I think that’s just something that’s going to evolve and we’ll see what happens.”
One other thing that will also soon evolve is Solder’s contractual status with the team. He was part of the initial NFL draft class that has a fifth-year option in his contract, which the Patriots are expected to pick up by the May 3 deadline.
“That’s one of those things I don’t really control. I don’t know what the discussion is exactly going to be on that and it hasn’t really been discussed with me at all,” said Solder, who added that he plans to take part in the team’s voluntary offseason program that begins April 21. “I hired a great agent and that’s his job to worry about those things. I’m a football player, not an agent, and don’t know the ins and outs of all the details. So I heavily rely on him for these things.”