4. Nick Bolton, LB, Kansas City Chiefs
At 6-foot and 231 pounds, there’s no denying that Nick Bolton is an undersized linebacker. It’s part of the reason why he slipped to the Chiefs at No. 58 overall and part of the reason why some believe he was still a reach at that point. We’ll argue that he was a steal, instead. Size aside, Bolton is an extremely instinctive linebacker who excels in coverage. One of those things can’t be taught, and the other is a welcomed benefit in today’s pass-happy NFL. Bolton will also willingly step in and play special teams, adding more versatility to his resume. Bottom line? Don’t let the size fool you — Bolton has superstar potential and landed in the exact right spot with Kansas City.
I think I really like the low-cost deal Kansas City GM Brett Veach made for injury-plagued Minnesota cornerback Mike Hughes. The Vikings traded Hughes plus their seventh-round pick in 2022 to KC for a sixth-round pick in 2022. Hughes was the 30th pick overall in 2018, the third cornerback selected. Look at the trade this way, using 2021 draft numbers. The Vikings moved up from the 242nd overall pick (in 2021 draft numbers) to 215th overall. GMs will tell you that, when you get to this point of the draft, the pick you’d have made at 215 will still be available at 242 maybe half the time. So the Chiefs take a one-year flyer on Hughes, and if he’s good, he becomes part of their corner rotation and maybe finds a home. There is no downside. Nice deal for KC.
This year, the league has scheduled the Giants twice on Monday night — once against Patrick Mahomes and the two time AFC defending champion Kansas City Chiefs, and once against the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady. Both games are on the road.
The league — and MNF broadcast partner ESPN — were apparently ecstatic over the two games.
NFL senior VP of broadcasting Howard Katz was on with @MadDogUnleashed today and, to Chris' question about Giants' two road games vs. Bucs and Chiefs being on MNF, Katz said: "ESPN loved those games."— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) May 17, 2021
Katz says the network "circled those games." @MadDogRadio
ON THE RADAR:
Orlando Brown, Kansas City Chiefs: Brown will get his wish — and his father’s wish for him — this season when he suits up as a full-time left tackle in the NFL. After Stanley suffered an injury in 2020, Brown, who had played right tackle since being drafted by Baltimore in 2018, started 10 games at left tackle and made the Pro Bowl. (He also earned that honor on the right side in 2019.) The Chiefs knew when they acquired the 25-year-old Brown from the Ravens this offseason that he’d be in need of a new contract (or the franchise tag) prior to the 2022 offseason. The team also recently made Joe Thuney the highest-paid guard in the NFL.
Tickets start at just $20 at www.ticketmaster.com/. The Monster Jam Pit Party also returns to Kansas City on Saturday, June 26 with limited capacity and enhanced safety measures implemented. At the Monster Jam Pit Party you can see the massive trucks up close, watch live pre-race interviews, participate in Q&As with the drivers, get pre-signed autograph cards, take pictures and enjoy other family-friendly fun. Face coverings, social distancing, entry screening and other protocols apply.
Featuring 12 skilled Monster Jam athletes, Kansas City fans will witness a fierce battle for the event championship with each competitor tearing up the dirt with gravity-defying feats in 12,000-pound Monster Jam trucks going head-to-head for points in Freestyle, the Skills Challenge and Racing competitions. Fans can choose to become part of the action by voting for the winner in the Skills Challenge and Freestyle competitions via real-time, in-stadium fan voting on their smartphones.
Around the NFL
“Everybody’s situation is different but there’s definitely been a shift,” Ryan said Tuesday of the outspokenness of players like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and others — without naming them specifically. “Guys have become more vocal about certain situations.”
The clock is ticking on Ryan’s career, he acknowledged, but he’s still capable of producing while learning yet another new system. New coach Arthur Smith is the third head coach he has played for and is at least the fifth play-designer/play-caller he was dealt with.
“I understand I’m not going to play forever, but I also have a mindset that I’m still playing really well and have a lot of good football in front of me,” the four-time Pro Bowler said.
For the Patriots, quarterback is a crowded position headlined by Cam Newton, 2021 first-round draft choice Mac Jones and third-year veteran Jarrett Stidham.
Hoyer, who had taken a free-agent visit with the New York Jets earlier this offseason as a possible backup to No. 2 pick Zach Wilson, opened last season as the Patriots’ top backup before slipping to the No. 3 spot behind Stidham after the fourth week.
I can’t wait to watch Matthew Stafford in Sean McVay’s offense. Coupling his physical ability and experience with the Rams’ scheme and offensive talent feels like an NFC West title and Super Bowl appearance waiting to happen — even in arguably the NFL’s toughest division.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
How he factors into the 2021 depth chart
The Chiefs have loaded their offensive line with talented players who are capable of starting — and Smith should be considered one of them. He has been one of the best offensive lineman in a college conference that routinely develops NFL players — and he was a five-star high school recruit for a reason.
Smith can be considered at either guard position — but with Joe Thuney penciled in at left guard, Smith likely needs to focus at right guard if he wants to play in 2021. He’ll be competing with players who didn’t play football last year — Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Kyle Long and Lucas Niang (if he doesn’t play right tackle) — as well as experienced players like Austin Blythe, Andrew Wylie, Martinas Rankin or potentially Mike Remmers.
That’s a lot of names — but from a talent perspective, are any of them truly head-and-shoulders better than Smith? Once the pads come on in training camp, it should be a very tight competition — and Smith has the talent to be firmly in the mix.
A tweet to make you think
Football is back my body is sore day 2— Ty Hill (@cheetah) May 18, 2021
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