The New England Patriots have now reportedly lost both running back Brandon Bolden and fullback Jakob Johnson to Josh McDaniels and the Las Vegas Raiders, among other notable names. The Johnson departure was expected though — the Patriots did not place a tender on him.
Here are four thoughts on another pair of Raiders pickups from New England.
With McDaniels, Raiders GM/former Patriots de facto GM Dave Ziegler, and now both Bolden and Johnson out west, the Raiders are becoming Patriots West. James White was also reportedly was receiving interest from Las Vegas but the fellow receiving back chose to re-sign with the Patriots.
J.J. Taylor breakout year?
The Patriots might not have to acquire another back if they want to bet on J.J. Taylor making a massive stride into the everyday lineup.
Taylor, now the second receiving back on the Patriots following the departure of Bolden, could have a breakout year. The 24-year-old had a strong preseason but was a healthy scratch for the majority of games this season.
Devine Ozigbo could also get some action.
Not just a loss in the backfield
Bolden’s presence won’t be missed just in the backfield. The 32-year-old back will be missed both on special teams and in the locker room.
Bolden saw 63.1 percent of special teams plays, racking up eight tackles this season while Bill Belichick has always been a big fan of Bolden’s locker room presence; and so has his teammates.
“He comes in here ready to work every day, said Rhamondre Stevenson of Bolden. “I’ve never seen Brandon have a bad day. I know why now, because of the things he’s been through and things like that. So, I understand his joy for life as a whole. That’s my big bro and it’s just all love in that room.”
New England QB Mac Jones also had high praises of the veteran.
“He is just a great team player and he has obviously been in the NFL for a long time. Just like James has. He has seen a lot of football and he just helps the team win in any way he can. He makes plays,” Jones said during the regular season.
“He stepped up and did a good job of running the ball. He is fast and strong, and he is a great teammate too, which is really important. He always has my back and has other people’s back on our offense and keeps it positive. That is what makes is really fun to play with him.”
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