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Patriots Analysis

Patriots Roster Breakdown: Isaiah Bolden Could be Special



New England Patriots Isaiah Bolden warms-up before an NFL preseason football game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2023 in Foxborough, Mass. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

There are expected to be a lot of changes in the New England Patriots locker room before the 2024 season gets underway. The coaching staff has already seen significant turnover, most notably with Jerod Mayo replacing Bill Belichick as head coach. But what will the New England roster look like in the fall? Some of that will be determined by players not currently on the team. The NFL Draft and free agency will both bring new faces to Foxboro. But what about the players from 2023? Patriots Football Now will break down all potential 2024 roster players in “Patriots Roster Breakdown” before Week 1 arrives in September.

Today’s Patriots Roster Breakdown featured player is Isaiah Bolden.

Isaiah Bolden

The New England Patriots selected Isaiah Bolden in the seventh round (No. 245 overall) of the 2023 NFL Draft. New England targeted Bolden pre-draft, bringing him to Foxboro for one of their Top 30 visits.

Bolden began his college career at Florida State. He was with the Seminoles for two seasons before transferring to Jackson State to play for head coach Deion Sanders, himself an FSU alum. In 2021, Bolden led all college players (FBS and FCS) in kickoff return average. He averaged 36.9 yards per return, returning two for touchdowns.

Isaiah Bolden averaged 28.3 yards on 10 kickoff returns in 2022, but his contributions extended to the defensive side as well. Jackson State upped his defensive snaps from 71 to 758. He recorded 36 tackles and 12 stops while scoring two touchdowns. Opponents completed only 50.9% of passes when Bolden was targeted.

Deion Sanders referred to Isaiah Bolden as “a walking NFL paycheck.”

Bolden battled in training camp for a roster spot for New England. He suffered an injury in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. Bolden sustained a serious head injury and had to be taken off the field by ambulance. Coaches canceled the remainder of the game following the incident. The Patriots placed Bolden on season-ending injury reserve following the game.

Contract Status

Isaiah Bolden still has three years remaining on his rookie contract, though there is no remaining guaranteed money.

Cornerback Group

The New England Patriots have seven cornerbacks under contract for 2024. The group includes Christian Gonzalez, Jonathan Jones, Shaun Wade, Marco Wilson, Marcus Jones, Alex Austin, and Isaiah Bolden. Gonzalez, Marcus Jones, and Bolden are all returning from season-ending injuries in 2024. Jonathan Jones is a steady veteran. Wilson was claimed off waivers in December and will be a player to watch in training camp. Austin surpassed expectations after getting promoted from the practice squad.

The Patriots may bring in another veteran cornerback. Familiar faces Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson are among the available players in free agency. It would not be surprising to see them grab a corner in the NFL Draft either. With injuries depleting this unit in 2023, depth will be a focal point heading into camp.

Outlook for Isaiah Bolden

Bolden can make the New England Patriots roster. He needs to have a strong preseason. Several core special teams players have exited New England, allowing him to prove his value as both a depth corner and a core special teams player. At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, he has the size and athleticism to prove Deion Sanders right.

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