The Bears opted to not address the edge rusher position again, which is alarming to say the least. However, Nichols is an intriguing defensive line prospect who will give them some beef up front.
Nichols won’t fix their pass rush, but he is an athletic and powerful lineman with a lot of potential. He has good acceleration off the snap, and plays with a high motor. He ran a 4.95 40-yard dash, which, although it isn’t the most important statistic for a defensive lineman, shows how athletic he is. His hands are active and he has a nice array of block-shedding moves. Nichols can redirect blocks against the run very well, and he excels at eating up space against the run. He’s 6-foot-4 and 306 pounds, so he has good size to play at the five-tech in the NFL.
Nichols had 5.5 sacks in 2017, as well as 56 tackles - 6.5 of which having gone for a loss. In 2016, he had another solid year for the Blue Hens, tallying five sacks, 25 tackles and 7.5 tackles for a loss in 10 games.
Nichols still has some room to improve, as he has some issues with his balance and flexibility. His pad level can also improve, and he isn’t great at turning the corner as a pass rusher. However, he is a very good run defender with athletic ability.
Nichols was my No. 16 interior defensive lineman in this draft, as well as my No. 132 overall prospect, so this is a solid value pick. He’ll step in and compete with Jonathan Bullard and Roy Robertson-Harris to start at defensive end alongside Akiem Hicks.
What do you think of Chicago’s pick? Grade the addition of Nichols with the No. 145 overall pick.
What grade do you give the Bears’ selection of Bilal Nichols at No. 145 overall?
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