Everyone loves draft grades, including myself, so I thought I’d grade the Kansas City Chiefs 2021 draft class (based on pre-NFL snap knowledge) based on draft need, immediate production, and potential. I know that giving grades before players take a snap is a fool-hardy endeavor, but these are my best estimates on how I think this draft shook out. Buckle up and send all hate mail to @HomestretchKC.
Round 2, Pick 58 – Missouri ILB Nick Bolton
As a Mizzou alum and a fan of great tackling, I am stoked for this pick. Bolton might not have the ridiculous athleticism that Willie Gay Jr. has, but Bolton’s instincts, awareness, tackling ability, and toughness shine through. He is what you envision when you think of hard-hitting inside linebackers.
His path is blocked this year, and my best guess is he learns behind Anthony Hitchens while taking over the starting role next season. After watching all his games at Mizzou, he absolutely fills up the stat sheet with tackles, and he is solid when called to drop into coverage. He relies on instincts and great football IQ more than sheer size and athleticism while still bringing the hit stick.
The fact that he fell to the Chiefs after being potentially a pick at the end of the 1st or early 2nd round makes me very happy about the value.
Draft Need – B
Chiefs need an ILB after Hitchens is gone and Bolton fills that need. It allows Bolton to learn from Hitchens and eventually take over the play-calling duties when he’s gone.
Immediate Production – C-
Special teams will be where we see the majority of his playing time this season while playing occasionally on defense. He’ll probably be listed as starter on the depth chart even thought K.C. typically only runs 2 linebackers.
Potential – B+
I don’t think he has the most upside in this draft but having the realistic potential of being an every down, impact middle linebacker is valuable.
Overall Grade – B+