Chiefs had pre-draft talks with LBs Nick Bolton, Isaiah McDuffie

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Charles Goldman
·2 min read
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Could the Kansas City Chiefs be targeting a linebacker early on in the 2021 NFL draft? It’d seem rather odd to address the position again after investing a Top 100 pick on Willie Gay Jr. just a season ago. The front office in Kansas City is, at the very least, doing its due diligence with linebacker prospects in the upcoming class.

Two prospects have recently revealed that the Chiefs are among the teams they’ve been talking to ahead of the 2021 NFL draft. Here’s a quick look at each of those prospects and their potential fit with the team:

Missouri LB Nick Bolton

AP Photo/L.G. Patterson

https://twitter.com/HerbieTeope/status/1374063058327384069 Per Kansas City Star beat writer Herbie Teope, Missouri LB Nick Bolton has talked with the Chiefs ahead of the draft. Bolton has long been a fan-favorite among Mizzou faithful in Chiefs Kingdom and it's easy to see why they like him. Bolton has elite play-recognition and trigger, with the quickness to match. His speed is really tough for offensive linemen to handle in the run game and he often finds alley's into the backfield using that reaction time and athleticism. There are going to be questions about his size, weighing in at just 5-11 and a well-built 237 pounds at his Pro Day on Monday. I think his tape does a lot to answer those questions, though. He's not the type who will be physically outmatched or limited by his size, showing stopping power when working downhill. He also has back-to-back seasons with 95 or more tackles and 8 or more tackles for loss. It feels like a good example of production matching the tape for this particular position. Given his expected draft stock, I'd expect the Chiefs would have to find a big role for Bolton early on to justify adding him in the draft.

Boston College LB Isaiah McDuffie

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

https://twitter.com/JustinM_NFL/status/1374060985829490693 Our friend at The Draft Network, Justin Melo, reports that the Chiefs are among the teams to have met virtually with Boston College's Isaiah McDuffie. This underhyped linebacker prospect has the reputation as a defensive tone-setter. Listed at 6-1 and 225 pounds, McDuffie boasts a high-motor, top-notch football IQ, and athleticism. 2020 was McDuffie's best season yet in college, with 11 games played, 107 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery. His ability to impact the blitz game and match up with running backs down the seam is certainly something that could intrigue the likes of Steve Spagnuolo. He's probably a bit more of a project compared to Bolton, but that's also why he'll almost certainly be drafted later on.

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