Bilal Nichols Is a Diamond in the Rough, Love for Peanut, Tarik vs. Turbo, and Other Bullets

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Bilal Nichols Is a Diamond in the Rough, Love for Peanut, Tarik vs. Turbo, and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears are preparing for another Thursday night preseason battle in the state of Ohio. This time, it’s the Cincinnati Bengals who provide the competition. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel it’s odd that three of the Bears’ five preseason games are on Thursdays this year. Whatever. I guess I’ll get over it.

  • First thing’s first: No, the Bears 2018 first-round draft pick Roquan Smith has still not come to terms with the Bears or reported to camp. Sigh. Matt Nagy has made some comments about focusing on what the team has in front of them right now, as opposed to what could be, but we’ll go over all of that, and the entire situation/rules/etc in general, later today. Hang tight.
  • In the meantime, another valued draft pick is garnering positive headlines. David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune describes fifth-round pick Bilal Nichols as the kind of high-character, low-maintenance player the defense needs. Nichols played his college ball at Delaware, so it was easy for him to get lost in the shuffle … but let’s not let that happen now that he’s in the pros. The Bears see Nichols as a diamond-in-the-rough type and value him highly enough to add him to their defensive line rotation from the outset of camp. Nichols played well in the preseason opener and will be looking to follow up with a second straight quality outing tomorrow against the Bengals.
  • Should the Bears want to further improve their depth on the defensive line, Jonathan Hankins is still a free agent. Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox views the Bears (as well as the Atlanta Falcons) as possible fits who make sense to add the free agent defensive lineman this summer. Hankins has certainly been productive when healthy and active, but the Bears seem to be happy with where they are at the position with Akiem Hicks on one side and Jonathan Bullard battling Roy Robertson-Harris for the other starting spot. Chicago still has a healthy amount of cap space available, which is worth noting. However, the team still could be trying to line up extensions for safety Adrian Amos and nose tackle Eddie Goldman. It’s hard to see the Bears getting a long-term deal done with a free agent right now before taking care of their own potential free agents.
  • While depth along the defensive line is fine and dandy, Chicago needs to generate a pass-rush in order to maintain its place among the NFL’s best defenses. The Chicago Sun-Times has a pair of pieces focusing on the Bears’ projected starting outside linebackers. Mark Potash writes about Sam Acho’s goal to improve his skills as a pass-rusher, which would round out his overall game which is highlighted by his stability, dependability, and ability as a run-stopper. On the other side of the formation, Adam Jahns highlights five signs of development Leonard Floyd has displayed thus far.
  • And just so we’re covering all bases, Johnathan Wood’s latest from Da Bears Blog goes inside how improved secondary play (specifically, the ability to grab interceptions at a higher rate than they have in recent years) will go a long way toward turning this thing around. Chicago has brought back the starting secondary from a top-10 defense, but the group didn’t have too many interceptions to show for their efforts. Maybe Kyle Fuller’s interception of his head coach will be the spark that lights the fire in this group.
  • On the other side of the ball, WGN’s Larry Hawley explains how Matt Nagy, Mark Helfrich, and Dave Ragone each have their hands in molding Mitch Trubisky in Bourbonnais.
  • I hope we’re building to a race between Tarik Cohen and Taylor Gabriel:

  • Laurence Holmes of 670 The Score went in a different direction with his podcast as he shared some anecdotes from his trip to the Hall:

  • You guys and gals seem to believe Devin Hester is the next man up representing the Bears in the Hall of Fame. Follow us on Twitter for more polls like this one:

  • Neat to see a surprising amount of love for Charles “Peanut” Tillman, who I believe revolutionized the cornerback position with the “Peanut Punch.”
  • Love to see this:

Author: Luis Medina

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