Bears go defensive on day three of NFL Draft

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Bears fourth-round pick, OLB Joel Iyiegbuniwe of Western Kentucky.

Bears fourth-round pick, OLB Joel Iyiegbuniwe of Western Kentucky.

The Chicago Bears went the defensive route Saturday as the NFL Draft concluded. With picks in each round (four through seven), the Bears chose defensive players on three of the four picks.

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Surprising many observers, the Bears selected speedy and athletic outside linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe of Western Kentucky with their fourth-round (115th overall) pick. The 6-1, 230 pound Iyiegbuniwe was unheralded throughout the draft process, but ran well at the NFL combine and at his pro day, raising interest from scouts.  His tape confirmed a run and hit prospect who is willing to throw his body around and displays the suddenness to impact at the next level.  Iyiegbuniwe was a tackling machine with the Hilltoppers, collecting 117 overall stops, including 11.5 for loss.

The defensive trend continued in the fifth and sixth-rounds. The Bears chose underrated DT Bilal Nichols from Delaware. Nichols 2017 season wasn’t as impressive as 2016, but the Blue Hens shifted defensive schemes and asked Nichols to occupy blockers in a “read and react” strategy rather than attack.  The 6-4, 300 pound Nichols is at his best where he can utilize his initial get off and quickness to attack upfield. He demonstrated those traits in the post-season, earning favorable reviews at both the Shrine game and Senior Bowl.  He’ll be counted on in Chicago to replace the departed Mitch Unrein, who signed in free agency with Tampa. READ MORE