Meet Defensive Lineman Bilal Nichols, the Chicago Bears' Fifth-Round Pick

Social Navigation

Meet Defensive Lineman Bilal Nichols, the Chicago Bears’ Fifth-Round Pick

Chicago Bears

With Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman entrenched as starters, the Chicago Bears’ defensive line was already viewed as a team strength before the draft started. The group grew a bit stronger on Saturday with a small-school fifth-round pick.


  • Name: Bilal Nichols
  • College: Delaware
  • Position: Defensive line
  • Age: 21
  • Height, weight, hand size, arms: 6-foot-4, 306 pounds, 10-1/4 inches, 33-3/8 inches


  • 2017 stats: 11 games, 56 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, one interception.
  • 2017 accomplishments: Third-team All-American, First-team All-Colonial Athletic Association, Earned invitations to the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game.


NFL COMBINE RESULTS (*-Delaware Pro Day numbers)

  • 40-yard dash: 4.95 seconds
  • Bench press: 29 reps
  • Vertical: 30.5 inches*
  • Broad jump: 112 inches*
  • 20-yard shuttle: 4.44 seconds*
  • 3-cone drill: 7.51 seconds*


  • High-motor/high-energy player. Grinder type whose effort helps him make plays in the backfield and pressure the quarterback when he flashed pass-rush skills.
  • An athletic former defensive end who had nine pass break-ups, two interceptions, and a blocked kick in his junior and senior seasons.
  • “His height, weight, speed for that position is at the highest level you could possibly have,” said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock after the Bears made their selection. Check out Mayock’s perspective on the Nichols pick here:


  • It’s not like it was something Nichols could control, but he didn’t play much against high-end competition while at Delaware.
  • Didn’t jump into a 3-4 defense until his senior season with the Blue Hens, so it could take some time to fully make the adjustment at the next level.
  • Pass-rush ability, while present, needs to be coached up and refined to reach full potential.


The Bears lost defensive end Mitch Unrein to the Buccaneers in free agency, but seem prepared to insert Jonathan Bullard into a starting role. And while replacing a departing player with someone from your own ranks, you also have to fill the depth left behind. Nichols slides in as a reserve who will be in the mix for reps and snaps with defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris and possibly nose tackle John Jenkins.


Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.