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2011 NFL Draft Projections: Nate Solder And Jimmy Smith

We are hours away from the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft and various pundits from around the web are weighing in with their final mock drafts. Keep in mind, that most of these guys are usually pretty far off and this year looks to be even more wacky so take it all with a grain of salt. Let's take a look where they think Nate Solder and Jimmy Smith could possibly fall tonight.

Mike Mayock,
Nate Solder to the Indianapolis Colts, pick #22

The Colts have been looking for answers at left tackle for a long time. Solder needs more lower-body strength but has good feet and will take care of Peyton Manning's blind side. At some point the Colts will have a Pro Bowl tackle in Solder.

Jimmy Smith to the Baltimore Ravens, pick #26

This is a great fit and a win-win situation for both Smith and the Ravens. Smith is one of the most physically gifted players in the draft who has dealt with off-field issues, and he benefits from the infrastructure of the veteran locker room of the Ravens. The Ravens get a big, physical player who is a top-10 talent.

Don Banks,
Nate Solder to the Indianapolis Colts, pick #22

Maybe Solder isn't the guy the Colts are targeting, but offensive tackle has to be Indy's first-round focus. I keep hearkening back to Colts president Bill Polian admitting he should have drafted Indiana offensive tackle Rodger Saffold at No. 31 in 2010, and how he lived to regret it. Solder is a tall, pass-blocking tackle who will instantly upgrade Indy's offensive line from an athletic standpoint. 

Jimmy Smith to the Baltimore Ravens, pick #26

I've had Smith to the Ravens for mocks and mocks now, but if he's gone, Baltimore would be interested in Wilkerson, Ohio State's Cam Heyward, or trading out of the round to pick the pocket of some quarterback-needy team. Smith is a first-round prospect with first-class baggage issues, but the Ravens believe they have the locker room structure to set him straight.

Peter King,
Nate Solder to the Indianapolis Colts, pick #22

The long-armed, 6-8 Solder should make up for the miscall on Tony Ugoh four drafts ago. Frankly, the Colts have been scotch-taping the O-line together for the past couple of years, and they should have chosen tackle Rodger Saffold instead of pass rusher Jerry Hughes in 2010. Whether it's Solder or Anthony Castonzo, the pick has a good shot to start early and then protect Peyton Manning's blind side for the last few years of his career.

Jimmy Smith to the Baltimore Ravens, pick #26

Smith would love to play alongside Ed Reed and behind Ray Lewis. Some teams are shying away from him because of off-field problems. Some teams would like to shy away because of off-field problems but can't -- because he might be as good a player as Patrick Peterson when his career's over. The Ravens can put in enough safeguards to make sure Smith behaves. And this just in: They desperately need a shutdown corner.

Mel Kiper, ($)
Nate Solder to the Indianapolis Colts, pick #22

One more pick that stays at least relatively the same from previous mocks, I just really like the fit. The Colts have to improve on the offensive line and even while Peyton Manning is a maestro working out of the shotgun, they need to be able to do more both in the run game and in pass protection. I had another O-lineman here in previous mocks, but Solder also offers a smart, athletic tackle who has been consistently rated as a first-round option. Indy has brought in some quarterbacks to work out, but Solder is more of an immediate help to a team still thinking about titles.

Jimmy Smith to the Philadelphia Eagles, pick #23

Philly really needs help in the secondary. Smith has a ton of upside -- some teams have him rated higher than Amukamara -- and was a shutdown guy at Colorado. We've heard the questions about his attitude, but based on what I hear from teams, that's not a huge issue. Fluid, fast, instinctive and skilled, he fills a need for Philly and can be on the field early.

Todd McShay, ($)
Nate Solder to the Kansas City Chiefs, pick #21

Solder needs some refining but would still offer an upgrade at right tackle for a team that led the NFL in rushing last season.

Jimmy Smith to the Philadelphia Eagles, pick #23

Smith is just as talented as Amukamara and has eased character concerns, and he would be a steal at this point for the Eagles.

Brian Galliford, SB Nation
Jimmy Smith to the Detroit Lions, pick #13

Smith is a major character risk, but he's also an elite-level talent. A good coaching staff, such as the one in Detroit, could quickly mold him into a shut-down corner.

Nate Solder to the Green Bay Packers, pick #32

Bryan Bulaga seems to have settled in at right tackle, meaning a long-term replacement for Chad Clifton on the left side is still necessary.

There you have it. The consensus seems to favor Solder going to the Colts at 22 and Smith going to the Ravens at 26. Where do you all want them to land?

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.