From now until the 2023 NFL Draft, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling Jackson State CB Isaiah Bolden.
#23 Isaiah Bolden/CB Jackson State – 6022, 201 lbs. (Senior)
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Isaiah Bolden||6022, 201||8 3/4||32 3/4||N/A|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Muscular and big frame with filled out lower half and good length
— Good straight-line athlete
— Dangerous with the football in his hands, can break tackles and make people miss in return game with top-end speed
— Experienced and looks comfortable and playing in the slot
— Able to plaster intermediate routes
— Uses length and desire to get hands on defender early in route, can disrupt smaller slot receivers
— Experience in man and zone
— Only one year of serious playing time
— Press technique needs plenty of work, misses jam too often and will punch with wrong hand
— Shows some tightness in his turn off the line, flipping his hips to match vertical concepts; too easily beat, issue reflected in short shuttle time
— Obvious competition concerns
— Limited ball production with only one career INT; broke up passes but had trouble taking the ball away
— Production was hot and cold and concentrated to only a handful of games
— Didn’t dominate FCS level the way you’d expect
— Jackson State career: 55 tackles (2.5 TFL) 8 PDs, 0 INTs, averaged 32.7 yards per kick return with 2 TDs (26 attempts), eight punt returns with 16.3 average
— Spent first two years at Florida State, had INT in 2019, averaged 26 yard per return on six returns
— Transferred from FSU to Jackson State after team switched him from CB to WR
— Four-star CB from Zephyrhills, Florida; chose Florida State over Auburn, Clemson, Florida, and mountain of other offers
— Initially committed to Florida State then flipped to Oregon and then flipped back to FSU after Willie Taggart left the Ducks
— High school track star in 100- and 200-meter dash
— Listed at 167 pounds out of HS
— Reportedly dismissed from high school team in October of 2017 for unknown reasons
When I posed the question, I had at least two readers request a profile on Bolden, a hot name after a strong Pro Day workout (that Pittsburgh attended). So I wanted to dive into his tape. I admit I had some trouble getting a large enough sample size of snaps to judge him well but went through enough tape and clips to have a baseline evaluation.
What’s most interesting about Bolden is where he played. At 6’2, 200 pounds with good length, you’d expect him to be an outside corner. He played there some in base but often times and almost always in sub, he was a slot corner. He was over #2 or #3.
Some of his biggest impact plays came not on defense but in the return game. Two career kick-return touchdowns and he made plays with the ball in his hands. Examples of both and a fumble return he had, weaving in and out of traffic.
Bolden has great size with a thick lower half. While he didn’t pick off many passes, he made plays on the football, though his production was heavier in just a handful of games.
On the negative, his terrible short shuttle, one of the lowest scores you’ll see from a corner, is alarming and the ding on his RAS mark. You can see that on tape when he’s asked to flip his hips. He struggles with his placement on his jam and can get beat because of it, allowing this TD here.
Bolden is interesting because his size and slot experience can dwarf smaller wideouts and match those big slot types. For teams willing to use defenders in the coverage game, he can also make an impact there. I like most when he’s able to play more off coverage and read and drive on the route than pressing up. I’d be willing to give him a try in the slot with his comfort there because it’s unique though he could eventually make a move to safety. My NFL comp is Rasul Douglas, who didn’t run as well but is a big slot type of corner.
Projection: Late Day Three-Priority Undrafted Free Agent
Depot Draft Grade: 5.9 – Undrafted Free Agent
Games Watched: vs Southern (2022), vs Alabama A&M (2022), at Alcorn (2022), vs Texas Southern (2022), vs Bethune-Cookman (2022), Kick Return TDs