The Chicago Bears‘ defense was decimated by injuries last season, more specifically their linebackers. After losing OLB Lance Briggs and ILB DJ Williams to injuries, the team was forced to play two rookie linebackers in ILB Jonathan Bostic and OLB Khaseem Greene, both of whom filled in well.
Chicago, now with both Williams and Briggs back healthy, will look towards building the future defensively by pitting Bostic against Williams while allowing Briggs and Greene to fill out the remaining spots in their 4-3 defensive scheme.
But the team also signed an undrafted rookie free agent LB in Florida State‘s Christian Jones, a high upside kid who could have — and probably should have — gone in the mid rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Jones, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound athletic freak, is listed as an inside linebacker, but he should be projected as an outside linebacker in Chicago’s 4-3 defense. Jones has unlimited athleticism and can cover quite well. He is a thumper on defense, meaning that he is very physical in run support and will lay the hammer down if and when necessary.
That being said, Jones tends to take too many chances on making the big hit which leads to a missed tackle and a big gain for the opposing offense. He also tends to play too high and will need to learn how to play more athletically if he wishes to stick on a NFL roster.
Jones will likely see the majority of his first few seasons as a primary special teams player, but he could see some nickel and dime situations as a cover linebacker for Chicago. He will be locked into a battle with Briggs, which sounds quite silly, but the youngster should be groomed as the eventual successor to the seasoned veteran somewhere down the road.
With a future linebacker trio of Jones, Bostic and Greene, Chicago fans should be very excited about the future of their once great defense.