5 wide receivers New England Patriots could take in the 2022 NFL Draft

Chris Olave #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
Chris Olave #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Slade Bolden #18 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots draft target No. 5: Slade Bolden

Slade Bolden has a very similar build to former Patriots star wide receiver Julian Edelman, so it only makes sense that he models his game after him in hopes that he can forge his path to the NFL. It’s no surprise given Bolden’s similarities to Edelman, and his ties to Alabama and Belichick’s close friend Nick Saban, that Bolden is going to be on New England’s radar come draft time.

There’s no question that Bolden is going to be a Day 3 draft pick, and there’s a decent chance he goes undrafted altogether. He put together his best collegiate season with the Crimson Tide last year, but his numbers don’t exactly jump off the page (42 REC, 408 YDS, 3 TD). That makes sense though, because if they did, Bolden would be getting drafted much earlier.

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The reason the Patriots should focus on Bolden is the reason he catches people’s attention in the first place, and that’s because of his similarities to slot receivers like Edelman. Bolden has the potential to be your typical slot receiver in the NFL, even if his late round draft projections say otherwise. He’s a good route runner with solid hands who can get open on underneath routes and deep routes, which isn’t always the case with slot wideouts.

The main knack on Bolden is his build and his limited college production. He doesn’t have any physical traits that make him stand out, and his mediocre speed may make it hard for him to create seperation from NFL level defensive backs. It also doesn’t help that his production in college was fairly limited, so scouts don’t really know how much he can be counted on as a starting wideout.

Edelman is proof that guys like Bolden can make it in the NFL, even if their draft reports aren’t exactly high in praise. Bolden is a good low risk/high reward player who projects to be either a late Day 3 pick or a hot commodity in the undrafted player pool. The Pats currently don’t have a seventh round pick, but chances are they could pick one up pretty easily if they wanted to get Bolden.