Alabama alum, Slade Bolden has opted to sign a contract with the Birmingham stallions for the 2024 UFL season. Bolden spent his entire four-year college career with Alabama from 2018 to 2021. He opted to declare for the 2022 NFL draft after a solid junior year foregoing his eligibility. 

Slade Bolden

Declaring Early Backfires

After redshirting in 2018 after playing just one game, Bolden had spent just 30 career games active in a deep receiver rotation that watched multiple players end up draft picks. With one more year of eligibility left, he looked at his resume and decided he had done enough to end up drafted. 

This decision came after just 68 receptions for 712 yards, and 4 touchdowns, not the best of production even knowing who he sat behind. Whoever advised him to enter the draft early very likely held him back from much more NFL interest had he stayed in school and found his way into a starting role for one full season. 

Despite this, and a rather pedestrian performance at his pro day running a 4.6 40-yard dash, he still was signed by the Baltimore Ravens almost immediately after the draft. After signing with the Ravens he was on a path to making the roster when he got injured and was placed on IR in late August. In October he was released with an injury settlement. 

From October until May he was left on the open market and could have honestly considered the USFL/XFL at that point but opted to wait. This time it was Atlanta that gave him a chance to compete for a roster spot. He impressed enough that he stuck until final cuts but has yet to log a stat in an NFL preseason game. Bolden was left on the open market indefinitely this time until signing with the Stallions almost 5 months later. 

How Does he Fit? 

If we are looking at the bigger picture there should be a moderate level of concern that Bolden will even make the roster in 2024. Before signing Bolden, the Stallions had seven wide receivers all of which had spent some time in an NFL camp. With a wide array of body types, and skill sets it’s anyone’s guess as to who ends up proving themselves in camp and earning an active roster spot. The one thing that stands out about Bolden to me is he seems to be the type of receiver who isn’t the fastest, quickest, or most agile receiver. In this case the saying a jack of all trades is a master of none comes to mind. The question becomes is he simply so reliable you can’t pass on keeping him?

So far there are only two players that I believe are virtual locks; Deon Cain, and Victor Bolden. Past that there are 6 players competing for what could end up being 3 spots on game day. 

With 75 man camp rosters and only three weeks to determine who sticks it’ll be an expedited process to figure out who belongs on the roster, and who needs to look for other options. It wouldn’t surprise me if every player cut at wide receiver gets signed by another UFL or CFL team.

author avatar
Sam Just

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