Once upon a time, Chicago Bears rookie linebacker Christian Jones was projected to be drafted as high as the 2nd or 3rd round in the 2014 NFL Draft. After Jones’ drug test sample allegedly failed because it was too diluted, most teams cooled on him quickly, and he dropped all the way out of the Draft completely. Fortunately for Jones, the Bears called him immediately and brought him in as an undrafted free agent. Now, just a few short months from learning a painful lesson, Jones has an opportunity to make an impact in his first NFL season.
The former Florida State standout finished his final season playing both middle and strongside linebacker, and he racked up 56 tackles and two sacks. In his first few months as an NFL player, Jones has already made an impression on his coaches. When linebacker coach Reggie Herring was asked about his young talent at the position, he seemed enamored with Jones. “We’ve got a young Jones player from Florida State who is doing an incredible job and flashes and shows he has a chance to be a good player,” said Herring.
Now it is definitely worth noting that Herring played alongside Jones’ father while in college at Florida State. It is this connection, plus Jones’ great work ethic, that should net him a spot on the final 53-man roster. Although, getting his pads dirty on special teams will be the reason Jones will find himself lining up at linebacker in 2014. With Shea McClellin switching to linebacker this year for the first time since college, D.J. Williams entering his 11th NFL season, and Lance Briggs about to begin his 12th, Jones has a great chance to be used as a fill in before 2014 is in the books.
While Jon Bostic may be the No. 1 backup at LB, as the Bears learned last season, injuries can sometimes force your hand sooner than you would like. And with two starting linebackers that each have more than 10 years of NFL experience weighing on them, injuries could become a serious issue for the Bears again in 2014.