NICK BOLTON

Height: 6’0

Weight: 232

School: Missouri

Highlights here

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.

Final Thoughts:

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, he should be limited 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. Bolton would not have to deal with offensive linemen as often in a 4-3 scheme. 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.

Draft Stock: Rounds 1-2