The Minnesota Vikings are a bit thin at linebacker right now, at least partially due to the departure of middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley in free agency. Erin Henderson and Marvin Mitchell have been re-signed, but outside of Chad Greenway there’s little proven talent in Minnesota’s linebacking corp right now.
The Vikings could use one of their first-round picks on a potential replacement for Brinkley, but it’s possible they will choose to wait a bit on that while bolstering more urgent needs on the roster. The linebacker class is not considered especially strong this year, and there seems to be a fairly steep drop-off after the top tier options.
Florida’s Jonathan Bostic started every game over his final two collegiate seasons, posting 94 total tackles (10 tackles for loss) and three sacks as a junior in 2011. His numbers fell off as a senior last season, with 68 tackles (6.5 tackles for loss) and two interceptions, but was still a steady force for a talent-laden Gators’ defense.
Could Bostic be a fit for the Vikings? Let’s look at his measurements, strengths and weaknesses.
Weight: 245 lbs.
– Exhibits excellent instincts and a nose for the ball
– Plays with a physical, aggressive style; is not afraid to take on blocks
– Shows ability to use his hands effectively to slide off blocks and make tackles
– Shows good awareness and hustle in coverage
– Plays downhill effectively and is a powerful tackler
– Is a vocal leader
– Does not always shed blockers effectively and efficiently
– Is overly aggressive at times; overruns the ball
– Does not have elite speed
– Shows only average overall agility
– Is a bit stiff in his upper body; can be eluded in space
Bostic could fit as a middle or weakside linebacker in Minnesota’s 4-3 defensive scheme, which are the two positions they need the most help at with Greenway firmly in place on the strong side. His potential physical limitations in coverage could be overcome with good coaching to go along with the instincts he brings to the table, allowing him to become a functional three-down linebacker at the next level.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.