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2018 NFL Draft Profile: Delaware DE/DT Bilal Nichols

Delaware defensive lineman Bilal Nichols brings a familiar grit to the table with his size, play effort and stature. It’s easy to be compared him to the Rams alum Victor Adeyanju, who did not post flashy numbers but was relentless on the field. That’s the type of player the Rams could use on the defensive line. Nichols could potentially fill a hole on the Rams defensive line in the later rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Measurables

Height: 6’4

Weight: 290-lbs

Unofficial 40-time: 5.05 sec

Strengths

  • Nichols possesses solid NFL size, can still add some weight
  • He’s disruptive through the game from tackles for loss to pass break ups
  • Nichols owns the raw strength needed to breakthrough at the point of attack

Weaknesses

  • He lacks solid DE/DT speed needed at the NFL level
  • More production in college was needed – average numbers
  • Nichols’s pass rushing skills are still raw overall, not refined

Achievements

  • Two-time Third Team honor
  • He compiled 25 tackles, including 18 solo stops, five sacks, and five pass breakups in 2017
  • Earned the game-winning sack for a safety vs. Albany

How He Fits

Nichols fits best as added depth to the much-needed defensive tackle/defensive end position for the Rams. It could be argued that roster depth is a core reason why the Rams didn’t go deeper into the playoff. Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald needed more help up front last year and didn’t get it. More pocket pressure would have been paramount to high energy games like Tennessee, Philadelphia and Atlanta. With proper coaching, Nichols could be that player and even develop into lineman that provides relentless effort on the field to terrorize opposing quarterbacks.

Final Thoughts

A team likely draft Nichols on Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft. If the Rams like him enough, they may consider him as early as Day 2.

Adding Nichols to the mix would give the Rams solid depth to plug and play in the trenches. Nichols’s raw abilities will take time to develop, but with proper coaching and a mentor like Aaron Donald, he can be a force late in games when needed the most.

NFL comparison: Charles Johnson, Carolina Panthers

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