KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs rookie linebacker Nick Bolton impressed in his NFL debut.
Bolton, the No. 58 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, took on a larger role with second-year linebacker Willie Gay Jr. on injured reserve, but the moment didn't overwhelm the former University of Missouri star.
Bolton tied for the team lead with seven total tackles, including four solo stops, during the Chiefs' 33-29 season-opening win.
“He had a couple of real secure tackles that were important for us,” Kansas City head coach Andy Reid said Monday in a video conference with reporters. “It looked like mentally he was able to digest everything that they threw at him.”
Bolton, a 6-foot and 237-pound tackling machine, played 76% of the team’s defensive snaps, the second highest usage for a linebacker in Week 1.
“If he did make a mistake, he fixed it the second time around,” Reid said.
Bolton was a two-time All-SEC performer with the Tigers and second-team All-American as a senior. He totaled 202 tackles in his two years as a starter.
Gay will be sidelined for at least the first three weeks of the season with a toe injury, so Bolton will continue to play a big role for the Chiefs, who travel to Baltimore for a primetime matchup against the Ravens on Sunday Night Football.
The Chiefs-Ravens game can be seen Sunday evening on KSHB 41 with kickoff slated for 7:20 p.m.