SF 49ers NFL Draft: 7-round non-quarterback mock for 2021

"THE PICK IS IN" for the San Francisco 49ers during the 2018 NFL Draft (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
"THE PICK IS IN" for the San Francisco 49ers during the 2018 NFL Draft (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Nick Bolton, Missouri Tigers
Missouri Tigers linebacker Nick Bolton (32) Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

Round 4, Pick No. 116 Overall: SF 49ers select linebacker Nick Bolton, Missouri

116. player. 822. . Linebacker. Tigers . Nick Bolton

The SF 49ers already shook up their linebacker room this season by trading away Kwon Alexander to the New Orleans Saints and letting backers Fred Warner and second-year pro Dre Greenlaw handle the starting duties.

But Greenlaw, who impressed his rookie 2019 season, hasn’t quite regained the form that convinced the Niners moving on from Alexander was a good move. Even though the trade saved cap space, it’s entirely plausible San Francisco is thinking reverting Greenlaw back to a No. 3 option could be the right approach to make here.

Either way, and with depth a consideration, going after an athletic and playmaking linebacker like Missouri’s Nick Bolton makes a lot of sense.

Nick Bolton Defense & Fumbles Table
Tackles Def Int Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
*2018 Missouri SEC FR LB 10 12 10 22 1.0 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019 Missouri SEC SO LB 12 74 29 103 8.5 1.0 2 38 19.0 1 7 0 0
2020 Missouri SEC JR LB 7 45 31 76 7.5 2.0 0 0 0 4 1 0
Career Missouri 131 70 201 17.0 4.0 2 38 19.0 1 11 1 0

Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
Generated 12/2/2020.

Bolton is a bit undersized at 6-foot-0 and 232 pounds, yes. But like Warner, Bolton is constantly around the ball. Seeing his 103 tackles from 2019 and 76 so far over seven games this season is a testament to that.

Plus, modern NFL linebackers aren’t required to have the same bulk as they did years ago, rather boasting above-average coverage abilities while serving as go-to defenders against the run.

Bolton does both of those things well, too, showcasing a knack for off-ball playmaking abilities against both the run and pass.