As we grow closer to the 2021 NFL Draft, we will start to analyze the options the Saints have at the picks they have in each round in our Saints’ Draft Prospects.
This draft pick comes from a mock draft done by Tankathon.com. They have the Saints picking Nick Bolton, an outside linebacker from the University of Missouri in the first round. Bolton is the fourth-ranked linebacker in the draft this year.
We’ve made reference to the Saints’ need for a linebacker before in past articles, but the need is still there. They tried to fix the issue by adding Kwon Alexander before the trade deadline, but it backfired when the $13 million linebacker tore his Achilles a couple of weeks later.
With a team that is already up to the cap limit, bringing Alexander back at that price point would almost do more harm than it would good to the team. If they let him walk or trade him, they could then target another linebacker in the first round of this draft.
Last year, we wanted the Saints to draft now Ravens’ linebacker Patrick Queen. That just goes to show you how a first-round linebacker can make an impact. Bolton is a junior that is waiving his senior year to enter the draft in 2021.
Bolton played 10 games in 2020 for Missouri. He finished with 95 tackles (8.0 for a loss), 2.0 sacks, five passes defended, and one fumble recovery. Bolton has pretty much kept similar statistics from his freshman to his junior year.
He did add two interceptions in his sophomore year though. Bolton is a special type of linebacker. He excels in run stopping as well as pass protection. He is the ideal linebacker to complement Demario Davis on the other side of the middle.
He could end up being the feature role in this defense. He has some decision-making capabilities that can be improved, but the coaches can teach him how to be a leader. Overall, Bolton would be the perfect young player to take this defense to the next level.