Cleveland Browns early 2021 mock draft: Getting value at linebacker

Nick Bolton, 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Nick Bolton, 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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Nick Bolton, 2021 NFL Draft
Linebacker Nick Bolton #32 of the Missouri Tigers (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

Scouting Report. Missouri. Nick Bolton. player. Pick Analysis. Linebacker. 49. 822

The Cleveland Browns continue their overhaul on defense by addressing the linebacker position. Cleveland lost their MIKE linebacker, Joe Schobert, to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Christian Kirksey to the Green Bay Packers.

The Browns did bring in B.J. Goodson on a one year deal to help out their run defense on early downs. He should pair well with 2019 fifth-round pick Mack Wilson, who showed some promise last season. Cleveland also has Sione Takitaki as a blitzer, and drafted LSU linebacker Jacob Phillips to add depth to the group.

While the depth is nice, the Browns still lack star power at the position because of Schobert and Kirksey departing. By the time the 2021 NFL Draft, he may not be available this late, but he is now. Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton could be a difference-maker for the Browns.

While Micah Parsons and Dylan Moses get the hype in the 2021 NFL Draft class, Bolton is close behind as a first-round talent. In his sophomore season, Bolton had 103 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and two interceptions. Bolton is a prototypical MIKE at the next level. He is great working downhill and shows good instincts on run fits. Bolton accelerates very well and is a great finisher as a tackler. He also shows good instincts in coverage and holds his own in space.