Buccaneers 2021 NFL Draft: Analyst projects linebacker in round 1

Nick Bolton, projected draft pick for the Buccaneers(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Nick Bolton, projected draft pick for the Buccaneers(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Daniel Jeremiah projects Nick Bolton to the Buccaneers in the first round.

At first glance, this is the type of draft content that makes Buccaneers fans very nervous. An inside linebacker for the Bucs? Really? Could Tampa Bay move away from a Hall of Fame player like Lavonte David in favor of a rookie? Daniel Jeremiah thinks so in his most recent mock draft.

The only thing that comes to mind when seeing this is pain. The pain stems from numerous sources (none of which are Bolton himself), with the first being the realization that Lavonte David has a legitimate shot of leaving the Bucs next season. The second is the knowledge that the Bucs could use another priority pick on an off-ball linebacker.

Devin White has turned out to be an exceptional player with a very bright future ahead, but the general belief is that the Bucs have no business investing another first-round pick on a player at this position.

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Upon a more in-depth evaluation, the Buccaneers are picking 32nd, so the pick isn’t necessarily wasted on this position, but can Nick Bolton really live up to the standard of Lavonte David?

Both of the Buccaneer inside linebackers had stellar college careers that jumped off the paper in the stat departments, and Bolton’s hasn’t been the exact same, but the film tells the true story.

Bolton looks good in coverage and in generating pressure between the tackles. The Buccaneers would be losing a great coverage backer in David if he departs, but Bolton could be the best option to stem the bleeding from day one. There aren’t many options like that available for a rookie price that the Bucs could use in their second Super Bowl push.

The combination of Devin White and Nick Bolton could wreak havoc on opposing offenses for years to come if the Bucs play their cards right. Bolton still has some growing to do, but he could be a great pairing alongside White in the center of the defense.

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Bolton would shine in a defense led by Todd Bowles, and this pick could set up Bowles for his likely future as the head coach of the Buccaneers perfectly.

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