The New England Patriots might not use their first-round pick on a wide receiver that can help take the pressure off of Mac Jones, but it looks like they will use some of their draft capital on procuring a new target that could slide into the WR4 role. They look back to their friendly confines in Tuscaloosa to secure that target.
While the Crimson Tide have two more elite prospects in Jameson Williams and John Metchie that should be able to join the ranks of their Alabama compatriots in the NFL, Slade Bolden is starting to distinguish himself as a potential late-round option for a receiver-needy team like New England.
Bolden might not have the athletic ability that some of the more hyped prospects in the draft, but he has his moments in a Wes Welker-type role devised by former Patriots coordinator Bill O’Brien. We all know how Bill Belichick loves his undersized slot receivers.
Bolden, who has already had a workout with the Patriots, was roommates with Jones during their days in college. If the Patriots want to commit to Jones as their long-term answer, bringing in someone with whom he clearly has chemistry could be a good way to accomplish that.
Slade Bolden could be a fit with the New England Patriots.
Bolden recorded 42 catches for 408 yards and three touchdowns last season despite often coming in third place as far as targets are concerned. With reliable hands and solid separation ability on shorter routes, Bolden profiles as the type of receiver who has often thrived in New England.
While Josh McDaniels might be in Las Vegas, Joe Judge will figure to run an offense that rips off large chunks of McDaniels’ offense. Bolden should fit in nicely on a team that wants to get the ball out of Jones’ hands as quickly as humanly possible.
Bolden is not going to be a guy that breaks off explosive plays at the next level, as his burst off the line is thoroughly below average. With a small catch radius and some iffy production at Alabama, the Patriots would need to be aware of the fact that he likely won’t be able to start on the outside.
Even with that caveat, New England should bring in one of Jones’ favorite targets in order to make him more comfortable ahead of a pivotal sophomore season. Based purely on his merit as a football player, Bolden is worthy of a selection for any contender needing depth.