Earlier this year, the Chicago Bears endured a facelift at the linebacker position. Face of the franchise and future Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher was cut, sending shockwaves through the locker room and the city of Chicago.
The Bears also lost former starting linebacker Nick Roach to the Oakland Raiders via free agency, and the search for the replacements was instantly in effect.
Chicago brought in former Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams to take over Urlacher’s position and upgraded the outside spot left by Roach when they signed former Carolina Panthers linebacker James Anderson. The Bears weren’t done there. General manager Phil Emery wanted competition at the position.
With their second round pick, the Bears drafted Florida middle linebacker Jon Bostic. In the fourth round, Chicago grabbed Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene. With drafting these guys, Chicago had created a coach’s dream: competition.
So far during training camp, all the linebackers have been working hard competing for a spot. The rookies had been playing with the second team up until recently when Williams went out with a calf strain. Bostic immediately stepped in and was given the opportunity to play in the middle with the starters.
Still getting familiar with the defense, Bostic is learning every day. He has been playing fast and looking to get his gaps covered on every single down. If the ball goes left, Bostic goes left. If the ball goes down field, Bostic immediately races down field.
He has shown the talent he brought to the Gators last year as the captain of the nation’s top defense, and Chicago is loving it. From the get-go, Bostic absolutely looks like he belongs in an NFL huddle, to quote the Chicago Tribune. There’s really no better way of summing up his first few days with the first team.
At this point, with the way he is playing I would not be surprised if Bostic kept the starting spot even when Williams comes back from injury. Williams has been a liability off the field in the past and now that he’s injured early in camp, Chicago may wind up keeping the younger, hungrier guy in the starting spot.
Everything about Bostic screams ‘Chicago Bears middle linebacker.’ From the name alone, to the grizzly-looking goatee to the aggressive and downhill style of play, Bostic sure looks like he belongs. As camp continues, he will be a guy to watch closer than ever and could wind up securing himself as the starting middle linebacker.