Miami Hurricane Bubba Bolden cannot be forgotten. The redshirt senior has the traits and tools to grab the scout’s attention leading to April 2022. The 2021 college football season is gearing up for kick-off. As the newest member of Cover1’s draft coverage, I wanted to take a peek at the safety position. Kyle Hamilton is the consensus safety atop of positional rankings. Here is my pre-season scouting report.
Bubba Bolden, S, Miami
Height-Weight: 6 foot 3, 204 pounds (school measurements)
2020 statistics: 74 tackles (50 solo), three pass breakups, one sack, five forced fumbles, and two interceptions
Film reviewed: Florida State, Louisville, North Carolina
As a 2017 four-star commit to USC, Bolden was the seventh-ranked safety in his recruiting class. In his lone season as a Trojan, he saw action in 13 games and totaled eight tackles. Injuries have been his proverbial Achilles heel since the beginning of his college career. He missed the entire 2018 before finding his way to Miami. An injury shortened his 2019 season. In 2020, Bubba Bolden found a clean bill of health and has impressed.
What I like:
Bubba Bolden is a talented and versatile safety prospect. He possesses a diverse toolbelt that is sure to catch NFL scout’s attention. He fits the bill as a movable defender depending on the matchup. The Hurricanes deployed him in multiple spots on their defense. Bolden aligned at FS, Two-high split, Nickel, and in the box. He is comfortable playing off-coverage and catch technique when tasked with man responsibilities.
Love Bubba Bolden’s aggressiveness. Versatile safety that plays with zero hesitation 🧨 pic.twitter.com/ijPPTBT3cn
— Lorenz (@ScoutingLenz) August 11, 2021
Bolden is a long-framed and rangy athlete with the speed to make plays sideline to sideline. He plays with a good level of physicality in the box against the run. He brings confidence and swagger to the defense. The former four-star recruit is disruptive when tasked to blitz the quarterback. Showcases comfort and aggression when coming downhill as an alley defender. Bolden is tough as nails. He excels at separating the ball from the ball carrier, evident with his five forced fumbles.
Despite his level of physicality, he can improve at the POA against blockers. Whether it is indecisiveness or not, Bolden must take on stalk blocks from receivers with aggression and a “You cannot block me” attitude. Bolden whiffs and misses on too many tackles in the open field. The poor technique has been his downfall in this area. He tends to lunge, not square up his target, and misjudge the ball carrier’s leverage. He can be an ankle-biter at times.
His play in 2020 was a bit inconsistent. He can become locked in when attempting to read the quarterback’s eyes, resulting in him being held in place. I would like to see him improve on route anticipation. Considering his long frame, Bolden needs to find consistency disrupting the catch point with his length.
Bubba Bolden reminds me of Denver Broncos star, Justin Simmons. Physically, both players measure up well. Simmons is 6-foot-2, 202-pounds with a long/lean frame. He adds a playmaker in coverage, against the run, and pressuring the quarterback. Bolden shares similar traits besides measurements. If he can maintain a good bill of health and reach his potential, a Justin Simmons comparison is not out of the question.