Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft
Round 2, Pick 34
Nick Bolton, LB
Picking a linebacker in the top-50 is the last thing I want to do. Linebacker holds poor positional value and it rarely makes sense to use one of your first two picks on a position that can be adequately addressed much later.
That said, the Dallas Cowboys clearly disagree with positional value charts and have no problem using a premium pick at a position where the elite are only marginally better than replacement level. And given the disappointing play at linebacker the past two seasons, I expect Dallas to pay the spot extra attention this year, even if there isn’t a clear opening at MIKE and WILL this year.
Dallas just signed Keanu Neal to a one-year deal and many people are saying it’s at least in part, to play weakside linebacker (WILL) on passing downs. With Leighton Vander Esch playing WILL as well, that sets up for a nice little rotation that could keep LVE fresh and play to both players’ strengths.
Nick Bolton, who plays MIKE, will be pushing Jaylon to move spots in the same way. Bolton isn’t just a hard-hitting thumper who beastly against the run, but he’s as asset as a blitzer and in coverage. He plays zone with awareness and proficiency (although I haven’t seen him defend the seam and question his coverage dropping straight back).
Nick Bolton looks like an instant starter and team leader. He has Pro Bowl potential and immediately fixes what’s wrong with much of Dallas’ LB play. He’ll likely push Jaylon to take more SAM snaps in 2021 and likely push Jaylon out of Dallas altogether in 2022.
Bolton is the most polished LB with Pro Bowl potential in the class. Full stop.