Patriots select Jackson State DB/KR Isaiah Bolden in seventh round

New England continued to bolster its secondary on Saturday and did so with the selection of an HBCU product.

The Patriots selected Jackson State defensive back Isaiah Bolden in the seventh round with the 245th pick of the draft on Saturday.

Bolden joins Patriots first-round pick Christian Gonzalez (No. 17 overall) and sixth-round selection Ameer Speed (No. 214) as draft additions to the secondary. During a draft in which the Patriots became the first team since the 2000 Raiders to select a kicker and an punter, New England also added to its special teams corps with Bolden, who should provide some punch to the return game.

A transfer from Florida State to Jackson State to play for then-head coach Deion Sanders, Bolden was a first-team HBCU All-American kick returner in 2021, a second-team All-Southwestern Athletic Conference cornerback in 2022 and accepted an invitation to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Bolden, a former four-star recruit in high school who was a track standout, is a blazer with 4.33 40-yard dash speed who is likely to have to fight for play in the defensive backfield but could be an early contributor -- and potential game-tilter -- in the return game.

The Patriots clearly had an onus on special teams in the 2023 draft and continued that by with Bolden.

Bolden was the lone HBCU player drafted this year following four selections in 2022, led by the Rams Decobie Durant and the Lions James Houston.

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