4. Bilal Nichols
It was a rough day for both offensive units as the defensive fronts dominated throughout the entirety of four quarters. University of Delaware defensive tackle Bilal Nichols was one of the top performers of the day and had his way in the trenches. A four-year starter in college, Nichols steadily improved as a pass rusher over his career from 0 sacks as a freshman to 5.5 his senior year.
Nichols pass rush presence was on full display in the East-West Shrine game and he had one of the top plays of the day. He found his way into the backfield in the first quarter and absolutely destroyed quarterback J.T. Barrett, forcing a fumble that was returned 68-yards for the opening score. For a small-school prospect, Nichols showed his explosiveness against some of the most experienced offensive linemen.
Given his 6-4, 290-pound frame, Nichols impressed scouts during the practice week with his athleticism in 1-on-1 drills. There are questions about his motor but none were present yesterday. Nichols is projected to go on day three but isn’t going anywhere but up on draft boards after a strong performance in one of the biggest stages of his career. Teams looking for defensive line depth will target Nichols and he has the ability to develop and become a solid defensive lineman at the next level. He’s joined by other small-school studs like University of Texas San Antonio’s Marcus Davenport, who’s projected as a top-15 pick this year.
Nichols did himself and the other FCS prospects a justice with the way he played.