The easiest way to know that training camps are humming is the rapid increase of stories trumpeting players with limited name recognition.
Guys jump out at early practices, people get excited about finding a diamond in the rough and things just snowball from there. If you read the one-liners on Tuesday morning or have been following the work of any of the Patriots beat writers, you know that one of this year’s group of fast-rising players is undrafted rookie running back Brandon Bolden.
With Joseph Addai gone and Bill Belichick always open to new faces at running back, there’s a big opportunity for Bolden in New England. Bolden was hurt and suspended at points during his senior year at Ole Miss, the same school that produced former Patriots undrafted running back find BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but put up impressive numbers in his first three college seasons. Bolden is similar in size to Green-Ellis as well, which adds to the speculation that he could find a spot on the Pats roster.
Belichick was asked about Bolden at Tuesday’s press conference. He’s not one to gush at the podium, but said Bolden’s done a “decent job” and that he has good skills in the passing game. He also seems to be pleased with Bolden’s brains.
“Like all the rookies, he’s made plenty of mistakes,” Belichick said. “But he’s made progress, he’s worked at it. Like I said, he’s a smart kid, he’s picked things up fairly well.”
The Patriots aren’t likely to have a workhorse back this season. Stevan Ridley looks set for a more prominent role, but Bolden will be as good a bet as any to get carries behind him if the buzz on him stays strong through the rest of camp.