Eagles Draft Profiles: Linebacker Nick Bolton
After a miserable secondary showing in 2020, the Eagles will be hunting for a linebacker during the 2021 NFL Draft. Although that selection might not be in the first round, several names should be considered during the later rounds in the draft. We have already discussed Chazz Surratt and Jabril Cox during our profile series with several others on the way. Another interesting name to add to that list is Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton.
Bolton has some exciting upsides to his game, but significant drawbacks could affect his turnout as a prospect. On the plus side, Bolton is an athletic freak and relies on that athleticism to make some fantastic plays. You can find Nick on any part of the field at any given time during his time with the Tigers. But that is also his fault. Bolton relies too much on his athletics and doesn’t have great technique or posture in many situations.
Nick Bolton in ten games this past season:
- 95 tackles, 53 solo
- Eight tackles for loss
- Two sacks
- Five pass deflections
The highlight-type player he is, as mentioned above, truly made Bolton a much-watch player during his college years. Nick was the leader of that defense and could fly around and make some massive hits. In pass coverage, Bolton was all around pretty good. He has never shown any weaknesses, and his athleticism has helped break up some potential big plays.
Like mentioned earlier, while that athleticism boosts Bolton’s play, he uses it as a crutch for too much of his game. Bolton overall is a horrid tackler. He is a fantastic hitter and gets himself into the right situations, but 95% of his tackles are horrible form. He often dives or goes for the ankles or knees instead of properly wrapping up. His pursuits are alright but he can gain so much ground with his speed if he makes the wrong read.
Nick’s speed and strength have helped him in these situations in college, but in the NFL, it won’t bode well at all. If Bolton wants to make a career in the league, he will need to fix his tackling immediately. If an NFL team can improve Bolton’s form, he can prove to be a valuable talent in the league for several years.
Compared to the rest of the LB class, Bolton is a very high-risk, high-reward prospect compared to players like Jabrill Cox, Chazz Surratt, and Dylan Moses. The Eagles already have Davion Taylor, and it doesn’t make sense to draft another project linebacker when you need someone to contribute right away. Based on where he’s projected to fall in the second or third round, I wouldn’t take him in the Eagles’ situation. He can likely pan out elsewhere, but Philly won’t be the right fit currently.
Mandatory Credit: Ed Zurga Getty Images