2021 NFL Draft: Nick Bolton Player Profile

Nick Bolton NFL Draft

Nick Bolton NFL Draft Overview

Position: Linebacker
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 232 pounds
School: Missouri
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Nick Bolton 2021 NFL Draft Profile

Overview

Nick Bolton is a junior out of Missouri. Though he played in all 13 games his freshman year, Bolton did not become a full-time starter until his sophomore season. During his time at Missouri, Bolton was a force to be reckoned with in the middle of the defense. Bolton made a name for himself with his vicious hits and strong instinct for playing zone coverage. What he lacks in height he makes up for with pure force. His car crash-like collisions with defenders put fear into the eyes of opposing players in the SEC. No matter what you thought of Missouri as a whole, as an offensive player you always had to know where Bolton was.

While Bolton’s weaknesses are limited, the few he has may prevent him from being an every-down starter if he does not continue his development. Bolton currently lacks top-end linebacker speed. If he plays too close to the line of scrimmage, then he will be too slow to make it to the edge on sweeps and outside zone runs. Bolton may end up struggling to tackle in space some of the more elusive players in the league. He has high susceptibility to miss tackles against guys that cut and change directions often.

Strengths

  • Strong communication;
  • Toughness;
  • Great awareness;
  • Zone coverage skills;
  • Nose for the ball;
  • Hits like a train;
  • Instincts.

Weaknesses

  • Speed is less than desired;
  • Lacks strong lateral quickness;
  • Struggles with open field tackles against faster players;
  • Run block shedding.

NFL Comparison: Lavonte David

Teams with need at the position: Cincinnati Bengals, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos

Projection: Late first round to early second round

Bottom Line on Nick Bolton

Nick Bolton is the type of dominating presence you want in the middle of your defense. The guy hits ball-carriers like a Brinks truck and excels in zone coverage. Bolton is a player that has a nose for the ball. You will find Bolton involved at the end of every play one way or another. He is the type of player that will not be intimidated by going to a team devoid of leadership either. Bolton can step right into the middle of a defense and command it like he has been there for years.

Sadly, the devalued nature that the linebacker position is currently going through has pushed Nick Bolton’s value down the board. The position just is not viewed as highly or important as it was a decade or two ago. He definitely has first-round talent, but will likely fall to a team that does not have needs at any of the skill positions. Had he played for a program like Alabama or Ohio State, then there is no doubt that he would be getting consideration as a middle of the first round guy. Bolton has the potential to develop into a perennial Pro Bowl player if healthy.

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