Fast and physical, Nick Bolton is a linebacker that will appeal to many teams in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. While he has his limitations, there's no questioning his instincts or approach to the game, two reasons why he will probably hear his name called at some point on Day 2 of the draft.
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Nick Bolton Draft Profile
Bolton is an aggressive, fast-flowing LB who seems to thrive off collisions — either with the ball carrier or with blockers. His physical style and football character are off the charts. He diagnoses quickly and attacks downhill, looking for the shortest path to the ball. He moves with a suddenness that often catches blockers on their heels. He has plenty of pop as a tackler despite his relatively small size. His pure speed allows him to get sideline-to-sideline as well as close as a blitzer.
Bolton’s lack of length will become more problematic in the NFL, where his inability to keep blockers out of his chest will make it more difficult to work through traffic. Despite his athleticism, he doesn’t look comfortable playing in coverage, where his movements are undisciplined in man coverage. He’ll have a tough time matching up with big tight ends.
Coaches will love his approach to the game and his physicality as a run defender and blitzer. While he has the tools to become a quality coverage linebacker, a team will have to scheme around him early in his career.
Final Grade: 1st/2nd round
(Top photo courtesy of Missouri Athletics)