The Patriots allowed running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis to walk in free agency, but not after he ascended from being an undrafted free agent out of Ole Miss to a full-time starter.
Brandon Bolden could be following the exact same path. Bolden, also an undrafted Rebel, has opened eyes early in training camp with his hard running, nice vision and solid balance.
“He seems like he's done a decent job in the areas that we've asked him to work in,” coach Bill Belichick said. “He can catch the ball, has some skill in the passing game and he had some production in the running game in college. We've only seen that in drills, we haven't seen that really in live competition yet. But based on college, it looked like he can run the ball. Pretty smart guy, can catch [and] can play in the kicking game.”
Stevan Ridley has the inside track right now to be the early-down back, and Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead excel in the passing game. Bolden could challenge Vereen for the top backup spot if he keeps up the pace.
Bolden can't, however, put the ball on the ground. He did that in practice Tuesday -- the first back to do so -- and had to run a penalty lap.
“Like all the rookies, he's made plenty of mistakes," Belichick said. "But he's made progress, he's worked at it, (and) he's picked things up fairly well.”