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Chiefs LB Nick Bolton Named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month

The Chiefs' second-round pick is beginning to turn some heads on a national scale.

The Kansas City Chiefs' 2021 rookie draft class has impressed thus far in the season, and linebacker Nick Bolton is no different. The first-year standout has been so impressive, in fact, that the NFL awarded him Defensive Rookie of the Month honors for October. 

Throughout the second month of the NFL season, Bolton amassed 43 tackles and seven tackles for loss. He has back-to-back games with double-digit tackles, although the most recent one came in Monday night's win over the New York Giants — a Nov. 1 contest.

With starting MIKE linebacker Anthony Hitchens missing time due to a triceps injury, Bolton has stepped in and filled that role admirably. The former Missouri Tigers star is at his best when working downhill and being decisive in the run game, which is exactly what he's done in recent weeks. Alongside second-year linebacker Willie Gay Jr., Bolton is forming what could be a quality core for the Chiefs on defense for the next several years.

In his rookie season, Bolton has 66 tackles, nine tackles for loss and a quarterback hit. In three years at Missouri, he compiled 220 total tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and a pair of interceptions. He also broke up 12 passes and recovered a fumble.

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With their first pick in this year's draft, the Chiefs chose Bolton with the 58th overall selection. Many have been critical of the team's process in regards to consecutive second-round linebackers, but it's hard to argue with the recent results of those picks. Gay has an interception in back-to-back games, and Bolton is truly coming into his own with Hitchens out. The NFL is noticing the latter, and that bodes well for the Chiefs moving forward.

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