After earning a starting role at linebacker with the Oklahoma Sooners as a senior, Curtis Bolton racked up 139 tackles including 12 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Relatively unknown, many projections placed the linebacker as high as the fifth round before the 2019 NFL Draft. By the time the name calling came to a close, Bolton remained one of many undrafted free agents.
Despite the undrafted status, the Green Bay Packers decided to take a chance on the linebacker and potentially uncovered a diamond in the rough. Putting ink to paper, the two parties agreed to terms on May 3rd. After week one of the preseason, Bolton ranked at the top of the list for defenders according to Pro Football Focus. Yet, the undersized backer spoke with discontentment toward the performance.
“I gotta finish plays,” Bolton told Matt Schneidman of the The Athletic. “My first or second play in, I should’ve got a TFL, didn’t get it. I tipped a pass and jumped, could’ve picked it, didn’t pick it. I cleanly beat the running back on a pass rush, don’t get the sack. Those are things that, if you wanna play in this league, you gotta finish those. This isn’t high school. This isn’t college. There’s 100 people out there waiting for the opportunity that you have. Those are the type of plays you gotta make if you wanna stick around.”Acme Packing Company
Looking to solidify himself as a member of the Green Bay Packers, Bolton’s motivation to finish plays paid off. In week two of the preseason, proved capable of not only run support, but also dropping into coverage. Hovering around the middle of the field, the presence of Bolton forced quarterback Trace McSorley to deliver the ball into a tight window. As the pass was knocked up into the air, Bolton displayed the awareness to make the interception.
With two weeks of play in the books, Bolton has been labeled as the second best linebacker on the roster. Now competing for the starting role, the rookie continues to impress those around franchise as well as your average fan.