Steve Spagnuolo, Chiefs’ defensive coordinator, said that the team will have to face growing pains after the departure of starters such as Tyrann Mathieu or Anthony Hitchens.

Nick Bolton, a linebacker, is one of those players who will try to minimize that pain. He was a 2021 second-round selection and played in 14 of the 19 games. Bolton said that he felt confident leading the team during his second season because “everyone around me has been instilling faith in me to do so.”

Bolton, who moved to No. Mathieu left the team at 32. Bolton said that he was counting on the other young players to take their place.

“I feel it’s our time, our young men, and not just mine. Willie Gay, Justin Reid and Juan Thornhill are the young defensive line players. Bolton stated via the Chiefs website that it was now time for us to lead. “Nobody can replace Tyrann Mathieu or Hitch — these are exceptional guys. They wore Cs for a reason, but we have to work together to get the guys in the best possible position to play.

Andy Reid, Chiefs head coach, stated that Bolton had been “attacking it like mad” this offseason. A jump in Bolton’s second season would be a welcome improvement on the Chiefs defense.