Nate Solder, who began his career as an awkwardly tall tight end only to turn into one of the best tackles in the nation, was taken 17th overall by the New England Patriots. Nate was one of the final players on the roster who had any ties to the Barnett regime, having committed to CU before Coach was booted prior to the '05 Champs Sports Bowl. New England should prove to be a great spot for him. Not only will he play high profile games right away, but NE has a history of integrating Buffs into their schemes. Chad Brown, Ted Johnson, Christian Fauria, Daniel Graham, and Terance Wheatley have all found success and large paychecks in Boston, and Nate should easily shine with the Patriots.
|This is the man who will be protecting Tom Brady's blindside starting this fall.|
There is some consternation in Patriots circles that they grabbed Nate when local hero Anthony Castonzo and Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi (not happy with my Bears choice of Carimi; fills a gaping need, but I feel he's hit his ceiling) were still on the board. However, I'm sure any thought of those guys will disappear once they watch Nate consistently do the right thing on the field. He's a great fit in that organization, and he's a great fit in that lineup. He'll anchor that line for many years to come.
Jimmy Smith slipped to the Baltimore Ravens, who took a little too much time to savor the joy of drafting a Buffalo, so Jimmy will officially be the 27th pick of the 2011 NFL draft. Despite all the swirling crap about Jimmy being the second coming of Pac-Man Jones, the Ravens knew what Jimmy was all about, and grabbed the superlative Buffaloes DB. The stories will all be about the risk the Ravens are taking (and how long they took to take it), but, as I've said many times, this is all blown out of proportion, and Jimmy won't allow off field crap to derail his NFL career. (Jimmy did a great job in this interview talking about his poor decisions as a youngster; that we in Buffs Nation never heard another peep from him off the field speaks to those lessons being learned)
|Jimmy will be playing alongside defensive luminaries Ed Reed and Ray Lewis this fall.|
What this means for Jimmy is that he'll get paid a bit more than he would've had the trade gone through, as the Ravens would've selected him 2 spots lower with the 29th, instead of the 27th where he went. In cash-dollar terms, that's could be a little less than $1 million guaranteed. In 2010 the 27th pick (Devin McCourty, NE) received $200k more over the life of the deal and $825k more in guaranteed cash than the 29th (Kyle Wilson, NYJ). You can buy a hell of a nice car with $825k in extra cash.
Jimmy will be joining a veteran Ravens defense who are seemingly always in blitz mode, so his shut-down skills will be put to the test early and often. Baltimore is known for loving big, physical DB's, and Jimmy fits that mold to a "T;" because of this, I expect him to make an immediate on-field impact. In addition, word from Ravens country is that they are quickly looking past the dusty old stories of his off-field incidents, and are focusing on his fit. It seems to be a great situation for the guy, and hopefully he'll be terrorizing AFC North WRs for years to come.
Nate was the first Buff chosen in the first round since Tyler Brayton in 2003, and the pair become the first pair of Buffs taken in the first round since Chris Naeole and Rae Carruth went in 1997. Congratulations to both Jimmy and Nate; do us all proud at the next level guys!
There will be no Friday Beer Post today, but it will return next week. Sorry.