Belichick's take on Bolden

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Rookie running back Brandon Bolden's chances of earning a roster spot naturally increased once the Patriots released veteran Joseph Addai before the start of training camp.

On Tuesday, coach Bill Belichick was asked about his strengths as a player.

"It seems like he's done a decent job in the areas we've asked him to work in, special teams," Belichick said. "He can catch the ball, has some skill in the passing game, and he had some production in the running game in college. We've only seen that in drills, we haven't seen that in live competition yet, but based on college, it looked like he could run the ball. Pretty smart guy who can catch, play in the kicking game."

Like former New England running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the 5-foot-11, 220-pound Bolden comes to the Patriots after going undrafted out of Mississippi.

He's a bigger back who has shown a combination of speed and power (e.g. goal-line score on Sunday), while also catching the ball fairly well.

To this point, the jump from college to the NFL hasn't seemed too big for him, but Belichick said the true test is ahead.

"Like all the rookies, he's made plenty of mistakes," he said. "But he'd made progress. He's worked at it, and he's a smart kid, picked things up fairly well. It will really start to pile on here by the end of this week when we kind of have everything in. Then it will be piled really high and we'll see how everybody is holding up."

When an undrafted player seems to make a positive impression like Bolden has, the question always seems to come up: Why wasn't he drafted?

In Bolden's case, an injury his final season contributed to a decline in production (462 yards on 96 carries).

Overall, he finished his career ranked second in school history in total touchdowns (33) and rushing touchdowns (27), third in all-purpose yards (3,681) and fourth in rushing yards (2,604).