It feels unfair to count too heavily on Bolton at this stage given that he’s still a rookie, and most NFL Draftees are expected to need a season to on-board. However, the Chiefs defense has looked poor in the second level in the early going of the season, and while much of that is also attributable to the absence of Willie Gay, the Chiefs could still use a further boost.
So far, Bolton has received far more playing time than anyone could have expected in the early going. Teams have been giving Chiefs offensive looks to keep them in their base unit, which keeps three linebackers on the field, which is why Bolton has earned as much playing time as he has.
As expected, Bolton has looked the part of a one-dimensional rookie. Coming out of the draft, no one had any misgivings about what Bolton can do well and what he’s never been asked to do and the Chiefs are seeing both sides there at work on the field. There’s no denying Bolton’s toughness at the position and his ability to sniff out the run and make the downhill tackle. That said, he’s also a liability in coverage and is struggling to adjust there as quarterbacks have no problem singling him out.
This learning curve is important, however, because Bolton has to grow as a player and the only way to do that is to be tested on a regular basis. The Chiefs need Bolton to be a sponge and grow as he gains experience and confidence. If he can progress as the season goes on, the Chiefs defense will be all the better for it going forward.