2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: LB Nick Bolton

Photo: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

PROSPECT SUMMARY

Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton projects as an impact starter at the NFL level thanks to his linear explosiveness to trigger and attack between the tackles and his ability to deliver jarring hits to ball carriers. Bolton has a pro-ready build and carries himself with confidence in traffic—for better and for worse. Bolton was a standout in Missouri’s defensive front and his role as the leader and enforcer of the Tigers' defense has groomed him well for a featured role in the heart of an NFL defense. Bolton’s prowess in the passing game shines in zone coverage, as he can drive on shallow routes that flash in front of his face and make receivers think twice about coming over the middle. But there’s plenty of room for improvement in Bolton’s game in space, both with angles to attack throws and his decision-making process to work overtop of the play versus shooting gaps to try to get home and create a splash play in the backfield. Bolton has come on strong after entering his sophomore season in 2019 as a first-year starter, so there should be plenty of optimism that Bolton can continue to hone his decision-making process and develop into a more consistent fill player and coverage option. Teams who implement a lot of green-dog blitzes and pressure schemes up the middle will love the leverage, twitch, and hitting power that Bolton brings to the football field. 

Ideal Role: Starting MIKE linebacker.

Scheme Fit: Single-gap penetration front with shallow zone tendencies on B-level.

Written by Kyle Crabbs

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Written By:

Kyle Crabbs

Director of Scouting

Kyle Crabbs is the Director of Scouting for The Draft Network. Prior to his time with TDN, Kyle worked for seven years as the founder of his own third-party scouting service, NDT Scouting. Providing media coverage and also consultation services for agencies, Crabbs penned an annual NFL Draft Prospectus featuring 300+ player profiles on an annual basis from 2014-2020. Crabbs is currently the co-host of the Draft Dudes podcast with fellow TDN scout Joe Marino and helps coordinate TDN's national scouting effort.

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