San Francisco 49ers: Who is wide receiver Victor Bolden?

Sep 12, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Victor Bolden (6) rushes in the first quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 12, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Victor Bolden (6) rushes in the first quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Niner Noise’s next installment of our “Who Is?” series on San Francisco 49ers players in 2017 continues by looking at undrafted free agent wide receiver Victor Bolden.

The San Francisco 49ers signed former Oregon State wide receiver Victory Bolden as an undrafted free agent following the 2017 NFL Draft.

Bolden has a long, long way to go to make San Francisco’s 53-man roster this season, and it would be a stretch to consider him anything but a long shot to be on the regular-season roster.

As a potential practice squad addition though, Bolden is a decent candidate.

Bolden’s numbers over four years at Oregon State aren’t exactly eye-popping, although collegiate stats aren’t exactly the best criteria for evaluating pro-level talent:

Victor Bolden Collegiate Receiving & Rushing Table
*2013Oregon StatePac-12FRWR1366210.3012957.91181578.71
2014Oregon StatePac-12SOWR117279811.12191186.209191610.12
2015Oregon StatePac-12JRWR124646110.03361855.10826467.93
2016Oregon StatePac-12SRWR124654211.822832911.827487111.84
CareerOregon State170186311.07957277.7326525909.810

Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 5/15/2017.

But there’s one thing worth pointing out — the 22-year-old rookie can contribute as a receiver, returner and even in the running game. In fact, his 11.8 rushing-yard average on 28 attempts last year is quite noticeable.

What else is there worth noting about Bolden’s skill set?

Why He’ll Improve

Bolden comes from a pro-style offense at Oregon State, which should translate well over to the NFL level. Back in 2015, CBS Sports’ Rob Rang even noted Bolden had the physical traits to be an early round draft pick.

This obviously didn’t happen, but there’s one attribute making Bolden stand out — speed.’s Lance Zierlein drew the ties between Bolden and his genes:

"If you’re wondering where Bolden gets his speed, just ask his mother; she holds school records for the 100 and 200-meter hurdles at Mt. San Antonio College. Bolden was a hurdler and football star in high school, allowing him to become the Beavers’ kick returner (58-1,198, TD) and start twice at receiver (6-62). He started 11 games as a sophomore, leading the team with 72 catches for 798 yards, scoring twice, and contributed as a rusher (19-118) and punt returner (4-44)."

The fact he’s also played in various roles helps give San Francisco some flexibility in how the team elects to use him this upcoming season.

Speed and versatility are always good traits to have.

Why He’ll Regress

One of the biggest knocks against Bolden is his size — 5-foot-8 and 178 pounds.

This could be offset by the speed factor, but two problems exist here. First, Bolden ran a 4.54 40-yard time at the NFL Scouting Combine — good, but not necessarily great. Another problem, as pointed out by Rang two offseasons ago, is Bolden isn’t exactly the best pass catcher or route-runner.

Smaller wideouts need to excel in at least two of these areas to stand a chance at the NFL level. And if Bolden isn’t capable of separation via speed or route-running, it’s easy to see where the problems will emerge.

And as a hybrid-tailback of sorts, Bolden simply isn’t big enough to withstand the rigors of life at the NFL level.

What to Expect in 2017

At best, Bolden is a practice squad candidate for the Niners this offseason.

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His skill set is unique enough to make him worthy of a developmental piece — perhaps a player who can fill the mold not unlike the Philadelphia Eagles’ Darren Sproles. Sproles is small, elusive, quick and can be used in a variety of ways.

But to say Bolden is the next Sproles is quite a stretch, a long shot.

Depending on how well his training camp and preseason campaigns go, Bolden may wind up being stashed away on the practice squad this offseason.

Next: Breaking down the 49ers' new passing game in 2017

Just don’t expect anything more.