CLEVELAND, Ohio – Mizzou Football linebacker Nick Bolton (Frisco, Texas) was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 26th pick in the second round and the 58th overall selection of the 2021 NFL Draft on Friday in Cleveland. Bolton’s selection marks the 17th consecutive season Mizzou has had a player selected in the NFL Draft dating back to 2003. Bolton becomes the 13th overall and the second-highest Mizzou linebacker drafted, trailing only Sean Weatherspoon who was selected with the 19th overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons in 2010.
Bolton is the eighth Tiger to be drafted by the Chiefs, following WR Henry Marshall (1976 – 3rd round, 79th overall), QB Pete Woods (1978 – 4th round, 104th overall), RB Earl Gant (1979 – 5th round, 112th overall), RB Ernest Blackwell (1998 – 7th round, 224th overall), WR Will Franklin (2008 – 4th round, 105th overall), OL Colin Brown (2009 – 5th round, 139th overall) and OL Mitch Morse (2015 – 2nd round, 49th overall).
Bolton finished his Mizzou career earning 2020 second-team All-America distinction from six different outlets (Associated Press, The Athletic, The FWAA, the AFCA, Phil Steele and Walter Camp). He was named to the All-SEC first team by the league’s coaches and the AP, was a Butkus Award finalist, a Jason Witten Man of the Year semifinalist and was named to the SEC Community Service Team.
On the field, his 67 solo tackles led the conference while his 95 total tackles ranked seventh. He also ranked among the SEC’s Top 15 in tackles per game (9.5, seventh) and tackles-for-loss (8.0, 13th). In addition, he added 2.0 sacks, five pass break-ups and a fumble recovery in 2020.
Bolton was named the FWAA Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week after Mizzou’s win over LSU (Oct. 10) when he had 11 tackles (nine solo) and three pass break-ups. He was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week after playing every defensive snap of the Tigers’ win over Kentucky, recording seven tackles and 1.0 TFL. He recorded a career-high 17 tackles in Mizzou’s game against Tennessee (Oct. 3), a mark which was the most by a Tiger since Sean Weatherspoon had 20 stops in 2008.
In 2019, Bolton had a breakout sophomore season that saw him earn national honors after leading the SEC in tackles during the regular season (107). He also led the SEC with his 8.92 tackles-per-game average and was Pro Football Focus’ top-graded SEC linebacker. He earned All-SEC first-team honors from both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press and was named a Pro Football Focus third-team All-American.
In three seasons with the Tigers, Bolton finished his collegiate career with 224 total tackles, 16.0 TFL and 4.0 sacks.