The Las Vegas Raiders should prioritize adding talent to their defense this offseason. All position groups need an upgrade and a recent mock predicts they will give their linebacker corps a boost.
Who’s Nick Bolton?
Pro Football Focus projects that the Raiders will use the 17th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft to take linebacker Nick Bolton. They see the Missouri product as the leader Las Vegas needs on defense. They add that he is the second-best graded linebacker in college football over the last two seasons.
Bolton ranks 22nd in Dane Brugler’s Top-100 draft board and is among the top linebackers in this year’s linebacker class. The Texas native was a First-Team All-Conference nod in 2019, logging 103 total tackles (8.5 for a loss), one sack, and seven passes defensed. Although he needs to work on taking better angles in space, he’s a big hitter with the athleticism to thrive in pass coverage. He finished his career with the Tigers with 220 total tackles (17.5 for a loss), 12 pass deflections, four sacks, and two interceptions.
Why would the Raiders draft Nick Bolton?
Even though the Raiders need to reinforce their defensive line, they can’t neglect their linebacker group. Nicholas Morrow is scheduled to hit the open market and it’s uncertain if he will be back. Las Vegas already devoted plenty of resources to the group when they signed Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski last offseason. However, Bolton may be too good to pass up if he’s available at number 17.
On the other hand, the Raiders could be better off using the 17th overall selection on a different position group. As good as Bolton is, defensive tackle and defensive end are bigger needs for Las Vegas. Moreover, Baron Browning and Jabril Cox should be available in the second round and possibly early in the third. In the end, as long as the Silver and Black draft an impact player, it won’t matter what position he plays.
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