Nick Bolton Nabs Mack Lee Hill Award as Chiefs’ Rookie of the Year

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a crowded field that included three NFL All-Rookie selections, linebacker Nick Bolton landed the coveted Mack Lee Hill Award as the team’s rookie of year over center Creed Humphrey and right guard Trey Smith.

Bolton compiled a compelling resume for the award, leading the Chiefs with 112 total tackles including a team-best 11 tackles for a loss. He earned All-Rookie team honors from the Pro Football Writers of America and was ranked as the No. 22 rookie of the 2021 campaign by Pro Football Focus. He was also named the NFL’s defensive rookie of the month in October.

But Bolton’s selection was a bit of a surprise over his fellow rookie teammates along the offensive line, especially Humphrey. Humphrey was ranked as the No. 3 rookie of 2021 by Pro Football Focus, which graded him out as the top run-blocking center in the league during the regular season.

Bolton, Humphrey and Smith gave the Chiefs one of the best rookie classes in the NFL in 2021 with each earned All-Rookie honors from the Pro Football Writers of America. The Chiefs led the league with three All-Rookie selections along with the Cleveland Browns and the Miami Dolphins. Bolton was the team’s top draft selection in the second-round as the No. 58 choice overall, followed by Humphrey at No. 63. Smith was selected in the sixth-round as No. 226 overall.

Humphrey finished third in the Associated Press offensive rookie of the year voting with two votes. Cincinnati wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase won the award with 42 votes, followed by New England quarterback Mac Jones with five. Bolton did not receive a vote for rookie defensive player of the year, which was won by Dallas linebacker Micah Parsons in a unanimous selection.

Bolton and the team’s Derrick Thomas Award winner for most valuable player will be honored at the 101 Awards on Thursday, March 10. The ceremony will also honor the league winners of the 101 Awards including:

  • AFC Offensive Player of the Year: RB Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
  • NFC Offensive Player of the Year: WR Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
  • AFC Defensive Player of the Year: LB T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • NFC Defensive Player of the Year: LB Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
  • AFC Coach of the Year: Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans
  • NFC Coach of the Year: Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers