Phil Emery and company are sure hoping that Florida’s Jonathan Bostic can help ease the loss of Brian Urlacher. It’s quite possible that this pick could have a major impact on Emery’s status with the franchise.
The biggest development of the Chicago Bears' offseason was the loss of Brian Urlacher. He’s been the face of the franchise since he was drafted into the league in the 2000 draft. The loss of Urlacher made finding a long-term replacement a need during this draft. This is why Florida’s Jonathan Bostic was on the team’s radar.
Bostic can’t be expected to step in and immediately replace Urlacher. However, he’ll immediately increase the quickness and athleticism at the position. There’s no doubt that Urlacher lost a step or two over the past few seasons.
He was able to make due because of his instincts and high football IQ. It’ll take time for Bostic to develop the same type of feel for the game. At this point, Bostic is more of a chasing linebacker who must improve his ability to read his keys.
This pick makes a ton of sense because Bostic is a great fit for Chicago’s style of defense. Mel Tucker will run a similar attack that the Bears used under Lovie Smith. That defense requires a middle linebacker capable of quickly flowing to the ball and dropping in coverage.
Bostic’s quickness and athleticism gives him the ability to reach the deep middle in coverage. He also is capable of sticking with tight ends and running backs in one-on-one situations.
His athleticism also gives Bostic some versatility. He’s more than capable of bumping outside and developing into a candidate to replace Lance Briggs down the line. This is important because Chicago lost Urlacher and Nick Roach this offseason while Briggs will be 33 years old this season.
The Bears won’t just hand Bostic the starting job. He’ll need to beat out D.J. Williams for the middle linebacker spot or James Anderson on the outside. Williams is a highly talented veteran who has shown the ability to make plays.
However, he’s had some off-the-field issues that helped end his run with the Denver Broncos. If Williams can get back on track he could be the long-term replacement for Urlacher.
Again this is where Bostic’s versatility will become an asset.
To think outside the box, it’s not out of the question that the Bears will eventually move on from the cover-2 defense. Marc Trestman isn’t tied to that system, Mel Tucker has experience running a 3-4 attack and a lot of key pieces on the defense are rapidly aging.
A down year for the defense could force a complete shift in philosophy.
While Bostic has plenty of talent, he was a bit of a reach at pick No. 50. It’s possible he would’ve still been on the board when the Bears pick again in the fourth round.