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Raiders preview 2023: Bilal Nichols looking for improvement

Key 2022 addition looking to make bigger impact

NFL: New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders
Bilal Nichols
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When he was signed to a a two-year, $11 million contract as a free agent last year, Bilal Nichols was expected to be a cornerstone to the defensive front of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Nichols had a lackluster first season in Las Vegas as he tallied 44 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 17 starts. Nichols is ready to improve and make a bigger impact in his second season in Las Vegas. He said he isn’t putting pressure on him and he’s simply looking for steady improvement.

“Just coming in and just continuing to do what I do,” Nichols said at the team’s minicamp. Come in here with a mindset to get better and better each day. If you could just get one percent better each day over time, it’s going to build up and you’re going to be closer to where you want to be.

“My goal always pretty much stays the same. It’s just to get better. I just try to get better and better. Like, I don’t ever try to put anything extra on myself. If you come in with the intent every day to get better in everything you do, you try to do it to the best of your ability and better than you did the day before, then naturally you’re going to get better. So, I just try to keep that mindset.”

Nichols is excited about starting his second season in Las Vegas and he enjoyed the offseason process with his teammates.

“Just enjoy being back out here with my teammates,” he said. “I think that was the biggest thing, when you go through the offseason and you don’t really see your guys as much, when you finally get back with them, you’re just excited to be back working with them. So, I just be trying to live in a moment now and just appreciate the fact that I’m around a bunch of great talented dudes and I can learn stuff from them and pick their brains and become a better player.”

The Raiders had change at defensive tackle this offseason. They signed veteran John Jenkins in free agency and drafted Byron Young and Nesta Jade Silvera. Nichols is welcoming the new faces at the position.

“A different group than last year,” Nichols said. “Definitely exciting time getting to work with the guys and getting back with each other and building camaraderie. But everybody has been working hard, and as a dude you appreciate that everybody giving it their all day in and day out, whether it’s a rookie, vet, or whatever the case may be, everybody going hard. So, you just appreciate that.”