KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri linebacker is headed from Columbia to Kansas City, and another Oklahoma lineman is joining Chiefs Kingdom.
The Kansas City Chiefs selected Mizzou’s Nick Bolton with the 58th overall pick in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday night. With the 63rd pick, the Chiefs drafted Sooners center Creed Humphrey.
The Chiefs didn’t have a first-round pick after trading it away to the Baltimore Ravens this week for Pro Bowl offensive lineman Orlando Brown, filling their biggest offensive need.
So with their first draft pick, the Chiefs used the first of two second-round choices to fill their biggest need on defense: linebacker.
Many draft pundits had projected Bolton, a Butkus Award finalist, to be a late-first round pick, but he slipped to Kansas City early in the second round. He’s expected to take over the middle linebacker spot that opened up when Damien Wilson signed a two-year, $5.75 million contract with the Jaguars earlier this month.
At his Pro Day, Bolton said many teams viewed him as a middle linebacker, but he just sees himself as a linebacker and is ready for any opportunity.
“Never thought in a million years I could be in this position, until now,” the Mizzou standout said on Pro Day.
After learning the importance of depth on the offensive line last year, the Chiefs used their second pick of the draft to select Humphrey. Kansas City saw multiple opt outs and injuries last season, and the Buccaneers defense ran over the Chiefs offensive line in a blowout Super Bowl defeat.
Humphrey is a two-time Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year and will likely compete for a starting job right away without the pressure of being forced into the lineup from Day 1.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was quick to react to the pick on social media.
The Chiefs have already made several other moves to rebuild their offensive line.
Kansas City added Brown to play left tackle, signed veterans Joe Thuney and Austin Blythe to play guard and center, and lured former All-Pro offensive lineman Kyle Long out of retirement.
They also plan to get back Laurent Duveray-Tardif, a starter who opted out last season, and Lucas Niang, a third-round pick a year ago who also opted out.
Earlier in the day, the Chiefs signed running back Jerrick McKinnon to a one-year deal to provide depth behind starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
McKinnon missed the 2018 and ’19 seasons due to injuries but returned last season to appear in 16 games for San Francisco, running for 319 yards and five touchdowns while adding another score through the air.
Looking ahead to the 3-7th rounds of the draft, the Chiefs could still use a No. 2 wide receiver and pass-catching tight end on offense and an upgrade at defensive end.
Pending any trades, Kansas City does not have a third round pick, but has pick 144 in the fourth round, picks 175 and 181 in the fifth round, and pick 207 in the sixth.