NFL DraftScouting Reports

2023 NFL Draft Diamonds Scouting Report: Nico Bolden, SS/LB, Kent State

Nico Bolden the versatile safety/linebacker from Kent State is a physically gifted prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Nico Bolden the versatile safety/linebacker from Kent State is a physically gifted prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Player Data

Name, Jersey #Nico Bolden / #24
School (Code)Kent State (OHKS, 2021-22) / New Mexico (NMUN, 2017-20)
DOB, Class Yr10-15-1998 / Graduate (6th Year)
Height, Weight6030 / 213
40 Yd Dash4.60E
Arms, HandsN/A
Position/DepthSS / Starter
Honors/Captainship2022 Second-Team All-MAC
Season Viewed (yr)2022
Games Watchedv. Washington 2022v. Oklahoma 2022v. Georgia 2022
Scout Name / DateDerrick Deen / 12-12-2022

Per Year Stats (Most Recent First)

202211 GP/GS / 103 TCKLs / 1.5 TFL / 1 PD
202112 GP/8 GS / 85 TCKLs / 2 TFL / 1 Sack / 2 INTs / 4 PD / 2 FF / 1 FR
20204 GP / 25 TCKLs / 1 TFL / 3 FF
201912 GP/1 GS / 16 TCKLs / 1 TFL
201810 GP / 6 TCKLs 

Player Summary:

A sixth-year graduate student, enrolled at New Mexico where he redshirted in 2017 before transferring to Kent State in 2021. Tall, lengthy, and athletic build with cut, muscular arms and a tough, firm upper body. Long and athletic legs with desirable muscle build. Aligns and starts primarily at strong safety, with 730 total defensive snaps in 2022. Also saw snaps at free safety (202), in the box (427), and in the slot (97). Appears much bigger on film. Average athleticism. Generally, sits closer to the box, but is able to seek depth quickly. Big and long enough to disrupt timing on offense and force receivers out of their routes. Ball skills were better in 2021 than seasons before. Reads passes well in the box and short zones, is able to match tight ends well and jump screen assignments. Can close on a pass catcher from deep assignments. Can be grabby in coverage. Back pedal isn’t technically sound, tight hips, needs cleaning up. Lacks fluidity, doesn’t move well laterally. Average anticipatory skills. Doesn’t have the run stride you’d like to see from a tall defender. Average angles of approach, especially down the boundary. Hard-nosed defender when coming downhill. Explosive, straight-line athleticism. Hard hitter in closed space, much more comfortable defender in the box. Sufficient open-field tackler. Does a good job seeking a ball carrier in traffic. Tackling mechanics and pad level must see adjustment at the next level. 

Scheme Fit

Fits in as an interior linebacker in 4-3 defensive scheme

Power Statement

Comes to the next level with a lot of experience as a strong safety and, with his size and time spent playing the box, should make the switch to linebacker. Once he finds fluidity in his lateral abilities and more physicality in his game, he could be a hard-nosed coverage linebacker on the depth chart. 

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