Nick Bolton Draft Prospect Profile and Scouting Report

Missouri LB Nick Bolton is profiled leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft

Name: Nick Bolton           

School: Missouri 

Year:  Junior 

Position: Linebacker 

Measurements:  6’0 232lbs 

 

STATS:

 

General Info:  

From Frisco, Texas. Attended Lone Star High School. Father Carlos played linebacker at Louisiana Tech from ’89- ‘93. Plays football for his sister who had a brain tumor when she was a teenager and could no longer play sports. A three-star prospect coming out of high school. Rated the #33 linebacker in his class. Had 130 tackles, 16 tackles for a loss and five interceptions as a high school senior. Chose Missouri over Mississippi State, Boston College, Colorado, Houston, Utah, Indiana, and Kansas. Was originally a University of Washington commit, but switched on signing day over some confusion with his offer. Played in all 13 games as a freshman. Played the weakside spot. Played special teams as well. As a Sophomore he started every game and he earned a grade of 91.1 from PFF, the top graded LB in the SEC. Finished with 107 tackles, 9 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, and 8 passes defensed. Both in the same game and one which he returned for a touchdown in their win over West Virgina. His junior year he totaled 95 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, and 5 passes defensed. 

Positional Skills: 

Positives: 

When he has a lane, he explodes through it and into the ball carrier. Bolton is a Big hitter; when he hits a guy, he usually knocks the ball carrier back. Always communicating with his teammates, a team leader. A good overall athlete. Fluid mover; when he flips his hips or changes direction, he does not look robotic. Very well versed in zone coverage. The Mizzou product seems to want receivers to be scared if they are anywhere near him. Shows excellent man cover skills as well. Able to cover running backs out of the backfield. Keeps his knees bent and his back straight, ready to explode. Bolton is good tackler, when he wraps up, he usually gets his man to the ground. Plays hard and is always moving. Had some real big physical tackles of Najee Harris the bruising running back from Alabama. A killer on A gap blitzes; he flies through there at the QB or ball carrier. Has shown he can even carry some wide receivers down the field. Does a good job of reading the QB’s eyes in coverage. Good leaping ability to bat down passes. He has 13 batted passes the last two seasons. Keeps himself square to the line of scrimmage. Bolton just bowls running backs over when he blitzes. 
 

Negatives:  

 
Has trouble getting off blocks; when offensive linemen get a hold of him, he is usually done. Slightly undersized at 6’0 with only average arm length at best. Bolton could stand to turn some fat into muscle. He lacks any elite athletic tools. Still will miss some tackles. Usually because he has a habit of diving at ball carrier’s legs and misses. The linebacker will miss read which gap the play is going to and shoot the wrong gap. Has trouble finding the ball at times and then sifting through the trash to get to the ball. Bolton can be fooled by misdirection. He can also get a little tunnel vision. The heat seeking missile that he is could learn to play a little more under control. 

 

Fit with the Packers:

If drafted by the Packers he would compete with Kamal Martin for the weakside linebacker spot next to Barnes as a rookie. Because of his issues with getting off blocks and locating the ball that should keep him at the weakside spot unless he really improves those weaknesses amongst others. His lack of size, problems finding the ball, reading the flow and attacking the right gap, and getting off blocks limit his effectiveness as a 3-4 inside linebacker. It is possible that he can improve in those areas. He would be a better fit as a 4-3 weakside linebacker with his skill set. He would not have to deal with offensive linemen very often. He would also be on the open side so it would be easier for him to find the ball. It would also allow him to ‘see ball, get ball’ and to use his coverage skills against running backs and occasional tight ends. For him to be effective in a 3-4 he will need linemen in front of him that will keep blockers off him that would then allow him to flow to the ball. And use his explosiveness and hitting ability to attack. As a 3-4 inside linebacker, he probably should go in the 2nd-3rd round. 

NFL Categories: 
1 points

Comments (3)

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stockholder's picture

February 22, 2021 at 09:41 pm

he probably should go in the 2nd-3rd round? Interesting Statement. You must not like him. Fine by me.

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MarkinMadison's picture

February 23, 2021 at 07:51 am

The WR profiled yesterday probably won't go in the first two rounds, maybe not even in the top three. I like that these profiles are bouncing around the boards.

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BrianMaafi's picture

February 23, 2021 at 05:12 pm

I never said that I didn't like him. I just don't think he's a great fit for the Packers

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