R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

College football and the NFL Draft

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R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:12 pm

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A lightly-recruited tight end/defensive end recruit from Newark, Delaware, Nichols has grown into an athletic defensive tackle during his time with the Fighting Blue Hens. He played in 12 games as a reserve his true freshman season (19 tackles, two for loss). As a sophomore, Nichols only started one game but played more snaps than the first-teamer, earning third-team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors with 29 tackles, two for loss, and an interception. He began making more plays in the backfield in 2016, receiving a second-team all-conference nod (nine starts in 10 games played, 25 tackles, 7.5 for loss, five sacks, five pass break-ups, safety). Nichols moved to the first-team All-CAA squad as a senior, starting 11 games, posting 56 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks, an interception, four pass break-ups, and blocking a kick.

Nichols is a defensive tackle with decent athletic ability despite playing as stiff-legged as he does. Despite his 10.5 sacks over the last two seasons, there isn't much on tape to suggest he will be an effective NFL pass rusher, but he does have some anchor against the run. Nichols showed up plus athletic ability as a tester and has been moving up the draft board for some teams. He needs to play with better bend to improve his leverage, but he has an opportunity to become an backup in the league.

STRENGTHS

Effort level almost never wanes
Plays with good energy through the whistle and has hustle to pick up secondary sacks and additional tackles
Decent athlete with lateral agility to shuffle along the line and man his run fit on stretch plays
Feels pressure headed his way and shows ability to sink and brace against double teams
Can spin out of down blocks and re-engage in the play
Flashes hand quickness that coaches can work with

WEAKNESSES

Needs to play with better initial quickness at point of attack
Tends to pop upright after the snap
Plays with poor knee bend and leverage
Need to see more jolt out of his initial punch
Pass rush lacks menace
Will stutter-step and try to set up moves that don't land
Below average at finding the edge as a rusher and is unlikely to generate quality bull-rusher on the next level
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wab
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Re: R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:15 pm

High effort backup guy. Happy they got some depth along the DL.
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Re: R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:16 pm

Not the FCS DE I wanted (that would be PJ Hall who was drafted in the 2nd by Oakland). Fits the 'athletic high ceiling' type we've seen from Pace in previous drafts.

Looks like Pace was looking for plug and play in the first two rounds and is using the late round picks to grab high-ceiling / need coaching types.
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Re: R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:25 pm

Watch this:

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Re: R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:33 pm

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R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:12 pm

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Re: R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:28 pm

I'm a fan.
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Re: R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:36 pm

Competition for Bullard?

With the YouTube we saw of the difficulty Smith has with OL blocking him an upgrade at DL is needed to keep blockers off of him.

What a draft! As usual they never go how I think or want, but I'm really happy with how it's gone.
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Re: R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:09 pm

For those interested - I found a Blue Hens youtube channel that has some of their games going back to the 2016 season (when Nichols was more of a 3T and got to show off his athleticism - per Mike Mayock)

Channel: " onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Vs. Delaware St: " onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

[video][/video]
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Re: R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

Tue May 01, 2018 11:22 am

Ryan Pace (on Hoge & Jahns pod) mentioned Brian Ginn as a source of info for the draft, and I just made the connection. Ginn was an assistant at Delaware and would have seen Bilal first hand.

I think I'm with Marshall Plan on this... with our small speedy backers it makes sense to have a bigger DE and this guy seems more suited for the job than Bullard. I think he has a good chance of starting in the base package the way that some teams use a 2 down nose.
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Re: R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

Tue May 01, 2018 1:17 pm

crueltyabc wrote:Ryan Pace (on Hoge & Jahns pod) mentioned Brian Ginn as a source of info for the draft, and I just made the connection. Ginn was an assistant at Delaware and would have seen Bilal first hand.

I think I'm with Marshall Plan on this... with our small speedy backers it makes sense to have a bigger DE and this guy seems more suited for the job than Bullard. I think he has a good chance of starting in the base package the way that some teams use a 2 down nose.
That's what I was thinking. The more you can keep blockers off of our ILBs, Smith in particular, the better off we'll be.
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Re: R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:58 pm

I'll be honest, I liked the Nichols pick in R5 at the time but he really exceeded all my expectations in his rookie season. I see a bright future for him and he makes up for the miss on the Bullard pick (who I also really liked at the time) who has been very disappointing.
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Re: R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:06 am

Nichols reminds me of Hicks when he was with the Saints.

I hated the Bullard pick because he was just a bad fit for this defense. He's a 3T. I think he'll go on to have a good career assuming he can get with a 4-3 team.
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Re: R5, P145: Bilal Nichols, DT - Deleware

Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:34 pm

wab wrote:Nichols reminds me of Hicks when he was with the Saints.

I hated the Bullard pick because he was just a bad fit for this defense. He's a 3T. I think he'll go on to have a good career assuming he can get with a 4-3 team.
Good point on Bullard and the bad scheme fit. Surprised Pace/Fangio thought he'd fit in.
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