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Grading the Chiefs’ pick of Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton at 58

What do we think of Kansas City’s first pick of the 2021 NFL Draft?

Troy v Missouri Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs have made their first selection!

With the 58th overall pick in the second round, the Chiefs took Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton on the second night of the 2021 NFL Draft. We have insta-grades from the three members of the Arrowhead Pride Nerd Squad.

Kent: Nick Bolton is a good football player — one with high character who is beloved by local fans. Some of his plays — featuring quick play identification behind the line of scrimmage in the running game — are wildly impressive.

For me, the big question with Bolton is his fit in the immediate positional value — and I wonder why Kansas City continues to spend so much money and capital in linebackers. Two second-round picks in the last two years have now gone for linebackers — and the Chiefs’ fourth-highest salary cap hit in 2021 is for Anthony Hitchens.

There are a lot of similarities between Bolton’s and Hitchens’ strengths. In the short term, Bolton’s pick doesn’t improve the team much in passing downs. I don’t love that. He’s a good player. In a vacuum, I would like him. But with the roster outlook right now, I don’t.

Grade: C-

Craig: I gave Nick Bolton a HIGH fit in the KC Draft Guide — and that remains the same. He’ll immediately play SAM linebacker for the Chiefs — and should replace Anthony Hitchens in the future. He’s a high IQ linebacker who will play behind the line of scrimmage against the run — and will upgrade Kansas City’s base defense. While he may not immediately contribute against the pass, next to Willie Gay Jr., he can be the future at the position.

Grade: B-

Matt: As Bolton’s biggest fan among the AP Draft team, I am not shocked by this pick. Bolton is an explosive linebacker who plays great downhill against the run. He won’t shy away from contact — and will crush ball carriers between the tackles. My hesitation comes in the passing game, where he’s seen very little diversity in his assignments — and didn’t look overly comfortable in them. He is a run-thumping, play-calling leader at linebacker — one who is destined to take over Anthony Hitchens’ MIKE duties in the near future.

Grade: C+


What’s your grade of the Chiefs’ No. 58 overall pick Nick Bolton?

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  • 33%
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  • 13%
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  • 3%
    (217 votes)
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