It was only a matter of time before we saw the first trade in the new formation of the UFL. Now we have seen the first trade completed between a USFL and XFL team. The Birmingham stallions, and San Antonio. Brahmas have swapped defensive backs prior to training camp. Who did they trade and how does it affect the Stallions? 

Bolden for Holder

One of the recent dispersal draft picks for the Stallions, Alijah Holder has had a whirlwind career since the USFL began and now resides on what amounts to his fourth USFL or XFL team. Originally with the Houston Gamblers in 2022, he was one of many players from the Gamblers that left for the XFL. 

He was then selected by the Seattle Sea Dragons playing his 2023 season for Jim Haslett’s squad. He was then subject to the dispersal draft which saw him selected by the Stallions who brought him back to the USFL for 2024, or so we thought. Now traded to the San Antonio Brahmas Holder finds himself back in the XFL once again in a twist of fate most didn’t see coming. In exchange Bubba Bolden will be sent to Birmingham in a rare one for one trade of two players who play the same position. 

What Does Bolden Bring to Birmingham?

Bubba Bolden at least in terms of body type is very similar to Alijah Holder. Both men stand 6’1-6’2 and around 200 pounds. Athletically is where you begin to see a bit of a separation between the two. Bolden is a 4.47 guy while Holder ran a 4.6. Bolden also had 15 reps in the bench to just 9 by Holder. Where Holder shines is lateral agility and leaping ability where he ran a 6.70 3-cone drill and had a 36 inch vertical. 

Bolden was with an NFL team as recently as mid August when he was released by the Cleveland Browns with an injury settlement. This was an unfortunate setback for Bolden who played fairly well in his 36 snaps grading out at 92.4 overall according to Ironically in 2022 he also played 36 snaps but graded out at 74.8. His best feature appears to be his ability in the run game. Both seasons he graded higher as a run defender than he did in coverage. 

Why Does this Trade Make Sense? 

This is a simple case of fit and depth. The Stallions feel they had an abundance of safeties that are primarily coverage players. They knew they needed a true strong safety who can come downhill and stop the run. Bolden at 6’2 209 pounds is essentially another linebacker when needed, but still has the athleticism to drop in coverage when needed. I think they had first intended for Holder to serve in this role but over time they saw an opportunity to improve at that specific need and went for it. 

Potter has magic in most of his moves and I don’t anticipate this being any different. He certainly seems to have cast a Patronum charm on Stallions fans heading into 2024, as optimism is abound in Birmingham. 

author avatar
Sam Just

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