KC Chiefs: Nick Bolton selected as breakout player for ’22

Nick Bolton, KC Chiefs. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Nick Bolton, KC Chiefs. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com says that Nick Bolton is primed to become a “household name” for the Chiefs in 2022.

While this year’s rookie class has everyone excited, the typical approach to a draft is to think about selecting players who could make an impact the following year. Given what he did in his first season, however, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton has analyst Bucky Brooks ready to run through a wall in terms of hype in ’22.

Brooks recently put out his list of players who are in line for second-year breakout seasons in the NFL. He has Bolton as No. 2 overall and the ranking comes with no shortage of praise.

First on the list is Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, a move that makes sense now that there’s hopefully more coaching stability and sense in Jacksonville along with the obvious natural talents he has under center. From there, Brooks moves on to Bolton and projects he’ll be a “household name” while he adds:

"With Bolton flashing All-Pro ability as a sideline-to-sideline defender who logged 112 tackles as a first-year starter, the football world could soon find out about the league’s next great linebacker."

Bolton was the first of two second-round draft picks last year for the Chiefs and both became immediate contributors. Creed Humphrey manned the role as starting center for the Chiefs from Week 1, while Bolton helped fill in for injuries to both Willie Gay, Jr. and Anthony Hitchens. Bolton looked so good from the outset that it was hard to see him sit when other guys were healthy, or even when the defense was giving meaningful snaps to Ben Niemann.

In the end, Bolton finished with 112 total tackles, including 11 for a loss. He also batted away 3 passes, recovered a fumble 86 yards for a touchdown, and had 8 pressures on opposing quarterbacks.

As good as Bolton looked in ’21, it’s very exciting to think about his trajectory. If he does become a household name, this Chiefs defense is going to turn out much better than advertised.

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