SF 49ers NFL Draft: 7-round non-quarterback mock for 2021
By Peter Panacy
Round 4, Pick No. 116 Overall: SF 49ers select linebacker Nick Bolton, Missouri
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.
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
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.