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Nick Bolton can provide the athleticism Washington is missing at linebacker

Hogs Haven takes a look at 2021 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the WFT

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 20 Memphis at Missouri Photo by Scott Kane/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Nick Bolton, LB

School: University of Missouri | Conference: SEC

College Experience: Junior | Age: 21

Height / Weight: 6’0” / 232 lbs

Projected Draft Status: 1st - 2nd Round

Player Comparison: Roquan Smith

College Statistics

Player Overview

The son of a college linebacker, one could say that Nick Bolton was born to play the position. He began watching tape with his dad before the age of 10. His competitive nature comes from being one of five siblings. His desire to succeeds comes from seeing his sister and mother fight cancer. Where others might have folded, this only fueled Bolton to be a standout linebacker. Bolton had an outstanding sophomore season at Mizzou, leading the team in tackles and tackles for loss and earning first-team all-SEC honors. Despite playing two fewer games this season, Bolton was just as productive. He ended the year named second-team All-American and first-team all-SEC.

Strengths

· Elite athleticism at the linebacker that can play sideline to sideline

· Uncanny ability to shoot gaps and make plays in the backfield

· Converts speed to power and uses quickness to get off blocks

· Does a good job of reading the QB in zone coverage and had a few plays where demonstrated man coverage ability downfield

Weaknesses

· Does not have ideal height or length for the position

· Can be a beat slow reading plays as they develop

· Saw him miss a few tackles by not wrapping up the ball carrier

Let’s go to the video tape

How He Fits On The Team

I had to check to see if Bolton played any safety because his athleticism is that good at the position. He’s a linebacker through and through who makes plays all over the field, especially in the backfield. Washington just doesn’t have his kind of athleticism at the linebacker position.

Washington should definitely be looking closely at Bolton if they want to use an early draft pick to improve the middle of their defense. The 19th pick would be a little rich for me, but I don’t think he’ll make it to their second pick. If chosen by Washington, he should be the immediate starter at middle linebacker. Despite being a little undersized, he is a three-down linebacker. His agility and short-area quickness give me confidence that he’ll play well in man coverage consistently. I couldn’t tell if he had the responsibility of calling the defense for Mizzou, but everything I read about him as a player tells me he should have no problems in this area.