May 01, 2021 4:06 AM

🏈 Chiefs select Mizzou linebacker Bolton with first draft pick

Posted May 01, 2021 4:06 AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs selected Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton with the No. 58 overall pick in the NFL Draft Friday night, keeping him close to home while providing an athletic upgrade to the middle of their defense.

The Chiefs did not have a first-round pick after dealing it to Baltimore this week in a package for two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Orlando Brown, filling their biggest offensive need. So with their initial pick, the Chiefs used the first of two second-round choices to fill their biggest need on defense.

"The linebacker spot was a bit thin,” head coach Andy Reid said, “but again, the way it fell, this kid, I thought it was a no-brainer when we got to that spot. You put on the film you and you watch him play and he just jumps out at you.”

Many draft pundits had projected the Butkus Award finalist to be a late-first round pick, but he somehow slipped to a team that needed a linebacker. Bolton is expected to fill the middle linebacker position that opened when Damien Wilson signed a two-year, $5.75 million contract with the Jaguars.

“I had no clue,” Bolton said, when asked whether he thought Kansas City would be his destination. “I didn't know until a couple of minutes prior to the pick. I talked to the coaches, knew they kind of liked me. Being at Missouri, being close, they saw me a lot. I knew they liked me. But I didn't know until I took the call that they were going to pick me.”

Earlier in the day, the Chiefs signed running back Jerrick McKinnon to a one-year deal to provide depth behind starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

McKinnon missed the 2018 and '19 seasons due to injuries but returned last season to appear in 16 games for San Francisco, running for 319 yards and five touchdowns while adding another score through the air.