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2011 NFL Mock Draft, SBNBA Version: 29. Chicago Bears - Nate Solder, Colorado Buffaloes

29. Chicago Bears - Nate Solder, Colorado Buffaloes

The Bears need a new left tackle, and they'll get him right here. I don't think I'm in the camp that believes Jay Cutler would never have been bounced out of the NFC Championship game if they had a new left tackle, but it remains a possibility. At the very least, if they had Solder and Cutler would have stayed in, I don't believe they would have beat the Green Bay Packers. They weren't as good of a team, and they aren't today, but an improved offensive line is a step in the right direction.

Something about the Mike Martz offense allows Jay Cutler to either crash and burn or excel on any given day, and with those long seven-step drops, he'll need better protection on the left side. Frank Omiyale is not a bad offensive lineman by any stretch of the imagination, but he excels in run blocking, not pass blocking. He could either move to the right side, or he could have trade value for Chicago when teams are allowed to do so. The point is that Nate could step right in to the left tackle position.

He's a strong pass blocker and a decent run blocker. Solder is a good athlete and he's very smart, good length, long arms and all of that good stuff a top-flight left tackle needs. He's rising up draft boards right now, but he's still pretty raw, and might struggle early on. His propensity to over-extend or let the longer plays get away from him is a red flag, but it's something that teams will be willing to work with. He's got a little boom-or-bust factor, but Chicago will take him here and bank on him being a starting left tackle for a long time.