When the Chicago Bears signed D.J. Williams this offseason, it was assumed that he would step into the vacant middle linebacker position without too much competition. Then the Bears drafted Jon Bostic with the 50th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, and the battle began.
After a strong showing through OTAs and minicamp, Bostic has put himself into position to push Williams for the right to take over for Brian Urlacher as the Bears’ man in the middle. The rookie will have to maintain momentum and continue to impress throughout training camp if he even stands a chance of starting when Week 1 rolls around.
Since training camp kicked off, Bostic has been working with the second-team defense behind Williams in what Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has described as an open competition. The rookie linebacker, though, has shown significant improvement since joining Chicago back in April and is prepared to make a strong push for the starting job.
Bostic is an instinctive, physical tackler with the well-rounded game to be an every-down linebacker for the Bears. With impressive speed and the ability to be an effective pass defender – evidenced by his five college interceptions – Bostic has all of the necessary tools to eclipse Williams for the top spot on the depth chart.
At this point, Williams has the edge in the competition to fill the void left by Urlacher’s departure. Don’t be surprised if Bostic fights him every step of the way, though. If Bostic wins the battle during training camp, the Bears could opt to move Williams to the strong side linebacker spot, which would be a definite upgrade on current starter James Anderson.
Moving on without Urlacher is going to be a burden for the Bears, but Bostic has the talent to help them cope.