By: Hussam Patel
Nick Bolton was the bright spot in Missouri's defensive front, taking on the mantle of the communicator and leading the Tigers’ defense in a competitive SEC conference, ultimately getting him ready for the NFL.
In the passing game, Bolton does well in zone coverage and plays underneath routes, minimizing the YAC ball carriers look for. However, he needs to be better over the top and well beyond the first down markers. He will need to get better in space and work on tracking down ball carriers who can switch angles on a dime.
In the run game, his initial burst is as quick as I have seen, which allows him to stay clean in a mosh pit, shooting through the gaps and penetrating the backfield to deliver hits and generate pressure. With only a six foot frame, Bolton is a bit undersized at the MIKE position so he will need to pair up with an off ball linebacker who plays well in man coverage.
The Tiger product might not be able to take on blocks well at the NFL level; he seems to run around blockers instead of getting dirty and playing the violent game to take them on directly. His size is a concern while taking on bigger linemen; he is taken out of the play when asked to take on direct blocks, and can’t move from lineman to lineman.
Bolton would be a great fit to a team that blitzes its linebackers heavily on 3rd downs to generate pressure, and mainly play at the WILL position.