Kansas City Chiefs rookie linebacker Nick Bolton has been named the NFL’s defensive rookie of the month for October 2021.
Bolton, who was the No. 58 overall pick in the second round of last year’s NFL Draft, is the first Chiefs rookie to win the monthly defensive award since December of 2015, when cornerback Marcus Peters took home the honor. The only other Chiefs player to win the award was safety Eric Berry, who did so in 2010.
Bolton finished October with 43 tackles (8.6 per game) and seven tackles for loss in five games — the most by any rookie since Week 4.
Veteran linebacker Anthony Hitchens left the team’s Week 6 game against the Washington Football Team due to injury and then had to miss both Weeks 7 and 8, providing Bolton with more opportunity to see the field.
Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has trusted Bolton with communication duties despite being a first-year player.
“It’s extremely difficult,” noted safety Tyrann Mathieu on Wednesday. “You don’t see too many rookie middle linebackers tasked with that duty, so to see coach Spags put his trust in him — obviously, the kid is a good football player. He has a bright mind, too. I think that helps slow it down a little bit, but he’s been a blessing for us, man, especially with Hitchens being out, him being able to step in there and kind of keep it rolling for us.”
October’s offensive rookie of the month is Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris.