Skip to main content

Chiefs Select Linebacker Nick Bolton At No. 58 Overall in the 2021 NFL Draft

With the 58th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Nick Bolton from the University of Missouri.

With the 58th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs selected linebacker Nick Bolton from the University of Missouri.

The Chiefs acquired pick No. 58 from the Baltimore Ravens in their trade for tackle Orlando Brown Jr.

Fellow linebacker Willie Gay Jr. tweeted prior to the Chiefs' selection of Bolton. He gave his stamp of approval and said he "felt it."

Scouting Report

The NFL Draft Bible on Sports Illustrated took a look at Bolton before the draft kicked off. Here's what Patraw had to say about Bolton.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Just how good is Bolton? Imagine Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan with more thump. Bolton is a super physical WILL linebacker who is surprisingly physical for a man his size and length. He fills like a tank, meeting offensive linemen at the point of attack, stacking and shedding with a high success rate. When he’s able to square up ball-carriers, Bolton is a vicious hitter, putting together a highlight reel of massive shots. Bolton has great feel in the passing game, quickly locating zones and working with urgency. He is a very smooth athlete that is able to unlock his hips and redirect in space, as well as playing some man coverage in a pinch. Technically speaking, Bolton stays square while working laterally, always remaining in a sound tackling position while working downhill. His instincts are fantastic. A part of a stingy Tigers defense, Bolton always seems to be around the football.

The huge downfall for Bolton’s game is a lack of length that can cause some shortcomings. In the run game, he possesses a small tackle radius to make plays outside his frame. In pass coverage, his length can cause him to miss out on some opportunities at the catch point and closing passing windows. He is a player who will need to be technically sound to make a high volume of plays in space. At the end of the day, Bolton has incredible instincts for the position with a smooth athletic profile and physicality to make a lot of plays moving forward. In the right situation, Bolton could end up hearing his name called somewhere in the first round of the 2021 draft.

How does Nick Bolton fit with the Chiefs? 

Arrowhead Report's Jordan Foote broke down Kansas City's selection of a linebacker at pick No. 58.

Nick Bolton is an intelligent linebacker who could possibly fill the SAM role immediately for the Chiefs. He’s at his best when going downhill and while his athletic profile is underwhelming, he projects to have a bright future with the team. With Anthony Hitchens being under contract through 2022, the Chiefs are thinking ahead with this move while still addressing a position that needed an injection of talent. 

Early Takeaways

While linebacker depth was an issue for the Chiefs and I expected them to address it in the draft, I didn't expect them to add a backer this early. Kansas City had a favorable board fall to them at No. 58 when it came to filling their two bigger needs in wide receiver and edge rusher. There's nothing wrong with this selection if it's followed by a wide receiver. The path to playing time might be tough for Bolton in his rookie year, but if he can impress and find himself on the field as the third linebacker, he's an upgrade over Ben Neimann.

Read More: NFL Draft Day 2: Who's Left for the Kansas City Chiefs?