- A closer look at the Cardinals' picks: Round 7/ 221 - Nate Potter, OT, 6-5, 303, Boise State...A three-year starter and a steady player. A developmental project, the Cardinals won't expect him to play any time soon. - The Sports Xchange
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The ascension of Boise State's football program has not only resulted in the Broncos' getting on the radar for college football media and fans nationally, but also for NFL scouts. In 2008, left tackle Ryan Clady became the first Boise State player ever selected in the first round of the NFL draft, and Potter hopes his growing frame and athleticism allow him to follow in those footsteps.
Potter actually grayshirted in the spring of 2006, postponing his enrollment out of high school, before redshirting the 2007 season to get stronger. He got his wet feet right away in 2008, starting eight games at left tackle and even blocking a field goal in special teams work. Though stepping as a starter after the first month of his sophomore season, he still earned first-team All-WAC honors. He repeated that accolade in 2010, along with garnering third-team AP All-American recognition, starting every game at left tackle after coaches originally thought he would move to left guard in previous spring due to the team's depth outside.
Potter's height, svelte build and athletic upside may remind some scouts of New England's 2011 first-round pick, Nate Solder. Potter's occasional lapse in technique, allowing ends to bull rush him or get the edge, may also remind teams of things Solder needed to work on when transitioning to the NFL. Improvement in those areas, combined with increased strength and the excellent workouts Potter is expected to have next spring, could also help him crash Thursday night draft festivities.
Positives: Tall, reliable blocker with long arms, good agility and a solid initial punch. Knocks rushers off their route. Has experience at guard. Shows the speed to recover and slide back into his set but gets too narrow-based. Has jackhammer hands and delivers constant hits until the play is over. Has light, quick feet sliding but only adequate overall burst. Strong enough to control and plant linebackers and safeties attacking gaps.
Negatives: Average upper-body strength. Lacks the sand in his pants to withstand bull rushers in the NFL. Adequate initial burst should be far better and isn't good enough to consistently hold out elite pass rushers. Doesn't always get his arms up and extended and can be hip-tossed off balance.