Vic Fangio started draft weekend with a hole in one on Thursday, and things have continued to roll his way since as the Chicago Bears have used three of their five picks on defensive players.
Here is the latest:
Bilal Nichols played his college ball at Delaware, which is were his new head coach Matt Nagy played. That’s convenient.
Nichols was a two-year starter along the Blue Hens’ defensive line. He played in a 3-4 scheme for the first time in his career as a senior and made the most of it as he earned All-CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) honors. Nichols picked up 56 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and even came away with an interception. Add up his production from 2016 and we’re looking at a two-year sample that features 81 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 14 tackles-for-loss, 10 passes defended, nine pass break-ups, a safety, and a blocked kick. Nichols also has two career interceptions for good measure, because why not?
After losing Mitch Unrein in free agency and moving Rashaad Coward to the offensive line, the Bears needed to add to their defensive line depth at some point in the draft. Nichols has size (6-4, 306 pounds), large hands (10 1/4 inches), and good arm length (33 3/8 inches) that could help allow himself to get established in the league.
In Nichols, the Bears appear to be getting a high-motor guy who can grow into the scheme as a 3-4 defensive end. With the Bears retaining their defensive coordinator and the core of a strong coaching staff, the team is well positioned to take Nichols’ talent to the next level.