Earlier today, we told you about the Patriots adding to their defense with the addition of undrafted rookie defensive end Justin Francis, who will likely help contribute to the team's developing pass rush. Now, it appears that they are close to addressing another need: the rushing attack.
According to WEEI's Christopher Price, the Patriots are close to signing undrafted rookie free agent running back Brandon Bolden out of Ole' Miss to a rookie-contract. Bolden (5-11, 222 pounds) totaled over 2,604 yards on the ground and 27 touchdowns in four seasons in college. OK, stop me if you heard this one before.
In case you aren't getting my drift, Bolden's path to the NFL is extremely familiar to that of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Green-Ellis too went to the University of Mississippi and was too an undrafted rookie free agent who was off the radar of many. In New England, Green-Ellis was able to establish himself as one of the most reliable backs in the league and earned himself a three-year contract from the Cincinnati Bengals. With 'The Law Firm' gone to Ohio, might the Patriots could be looking to recreate him in young Brandon Bolden.
Bolden has similar build to Green-Ellis (5-11, 219 pounds), and has similar strengths. Like BJGE, Bolden is a very good runner between the tackles, has a uncanny ability to bounce off of tackles, good hands and elusiveness to catch passes out of the backfield, and is a reliable redzone and goal line back. Bolden and Green-Ellis both had very comparable results from the combine in almost every category. According to Pro Football Weekly, Bolden's key weaknesses are that he lacks initial quickness (so does Green-Ellis), and that he has lingering character concerns, which is something that isn't really concerning Bill Belichick in his search for rookies.
In their careers at Ole' Miss, Bolden and Green-Ellis once again crossed paths in the record books. Both rank among the best all time in school history in yards from scrimmage, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns.
Bolden doesn't quite have the reliable reputation that 'The Law Firm' has as a runner. But again, who does? One element that Bolden does add to the Patriots that Green-Ellis doesn't have is that he has experience returning kicks in college. But all and all, this is by far the most interesting undrafted free agent the Patriots have signed thus far. We saw BenJarvus Green-Ellis rise to popularity in New England. Could we see the same thing in young Brandon Bolden?