We’ve been waiting in anticipation to see which USFL stars will go on to the NFL, and another signing came out yesterday. The Birmingham Stallions All-USFL/MVP wideout/returner Victor Bolden Jr. was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals, and it’s great to see him get recognition from the larger football world.
Bolden was already established as an NFL returner by the time he joined the Stallions, and he has 525 return yards to his name with the 49ers and Bills. Now, he’ll be making his return on a Cardinals team that is absolutely loading up on talent at WR for their young QB.
Their starting trio of DeAndre Hopkins, Hollywood Brown and AJ Green is as solid a unit as you’ll find in the NFL, and they’re backed up by intriguing youngsters Rondale Moore and Andy Isabella. However, Bolden Jr could be a great option to fill that #6 spot.
The Cardinals don’t have any draft capital invested in the WR’s beyond their top 5, so it should truly be an open competition for that last spot or two. Bolden Jr’s skillsets give him an edge.
In 2022, he finally broke out on offense with 42 receptions for 422 yards and a score, and was a huge asset in the playoffs. He had 6 catches for 64 yards and a score in the big game, winning MVP honors for his performance. A big key to his success as a pass catcher was his ability to work with a young quarterback and serve as both a safety blanket underneath, and a burner over the top.
While we know he has the speed to break it big, his yards/rec this year was actually just 9.9, and that’s because he was often asked to run shorter curl, slant and dig routes to give young J’Mar a consistent safety valve in the short game. He performed incredibly well there, and this factor could help him steady Kyler Murray in the pocket in Arizona.
While I believe he could earn a role in this offense, his return abilities are what clearly sets him apart in this camp battle. Having led the USFL in all-purpose yards, he was highly effective in returning both punts and kicks this year. We’ve all seen how that goes down, like his massive 90-yard TD in the playoffs vs New Orleans.
Victor Bolden Jr of the Birmingham Stallions (USFL) ⚡️pic.twitter.com/tPQ5gXj9iw— NFL Touchdowns Daily (@touchdowns_nfl) July 10, 2022
Rondale Moore and Eno Benjamin handled returns on last year on default, but neither has necessarily broken out as a returner, and this could truly be Bolden’s time to shine. Though it’s an oft-overlooked position, having a bonafide veteran return specialist can really move the needle and help teams with the field position battle.
It’s great to see a Stallion ride off into the NFL, and I can’t wait to see what impact he makes there.
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