UD’s Bilal Nichols picked by Chicago in NFL draft
Photo by Mark Campbell April 30, 2018
Nose tackle joins Bears, now coached by former Blue Hens QB Matt Nagy
Soldier Field in Chicago might as well be called Delaware Stadium North.
On Saturday, April 28, former University of Delaware football standout Matt Nagy, now the head coach of the Chicago Bears, added another Blue Hen to the organization with the selection of nose tackle Bilal Nichols in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL draft.
“This is a moment that most people only dream of and to be given this opportunity, I’m extremely humbled and grateful,” Nichols said. “I can’t thank the Bears enough for believing in me and giving me a chance to prove myself against the best in the world. The support and guidance from my family, coaches, teammates and friends are what got me to this day and I can’t put into words what they mean to me.”
Nichols, who is 6-foot-4 and 306 pounds, becomes the first Delaware player selected since Nick Boyle in 2015 by the Baltimore Ravens. He is the 31st player in program history to be selected in the NFL draft.
A native of Newark and a graduate of nearby Hodgson Vo-Tech, Nichols was a three-time Colonial Athletic Association honoree and was a first-team selection in 2017. As a senior, Nichols piled up career-highs in tackles (56) and sacks (5.5) en route to All-American accolades.
Nichols played in 44 career games for the Blue Hens, racking up 104 tackles, 9.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for a loss.
He becomes the first Delawarean drafted as Blue Hen since Dan Reeder in 1985, who was also a fifth-round pick. Reeder’s sons, Troy and Colby, were defensive starters alongside Nichols last year and will be key cogs for the 2018 team.