‘It’s our time’: Chiefs LB Nick Bolton talks about young defenders stepping up as leaders

Chiefs Wire

The offseason changes for the Kansas City Chiefs defense have included a number of departures of veteran players. The roster is populated by many promising rookies and second-year players looking to make a name for themselves, especially on defense.

Chiefs’ second-year LB Nick Bolton opened eyes around the league with his impressive play. He played meaningful snaps in place of former Chiefs linebacker Anthony Hitchens when he was injured and hasn’t looked back. Without the usual veterans at the position in 2022, Bolton addressed the growth in himself and his young teammates as leaders during Thursday’s OTAs press conference.

“Yes, I feel like it’s our time, our young guys, not just me,” Bolton told reporters. “Willie (Gay), Justin Reid, Juan (Thornhill), young guys on the D-Line. It’s our time to step up and lead as a group. Nobody will replace Hitch (Anthony Hitchens), Tyrann Mathieu, those guys are special guys. There is a reason why they wore Cs. It’s up to us to come in as a group and get guys in the best position possible to play.”

Bolton was an impact player at the outside linebacker position during his rookie season, starting 14 games (incl. playoffs), and finishing the year with 112 tackles, three passes defended, one fumble recovery and a defensive touchdown. The 22-year-old linebacker is looking forward to taking on more of a leadership role on the gridiron, wearing the green dot while playing the MIKE linebacker position.

“I definitely have to get back in shape,” Bolton said of his new role. “It’s way different at the MIKE position, you’re going to be on the play more times than you would be at the WILL position. I want to be in condition where I can go sideline-to-sideline, get in better shape. I liked where I was weight-wise last season, so I’m just going to continue to get in better shape as we go along.”

Another solid season as a full-time starter for Bolton could change the outlook of the Chiefs’ defense. The emergence of several new leaders, including Bolton, could be key to their goals for the 2022 NFL season.

Author: Lucy Green