Chicago Bears: Can Jon Bostic replace Brian Urlacher in week one?

Chicago Bears: Can Jon Bostic replace Brian Urlacher in week one?
Jose M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune

When the Chicago Bears selected linebacker Jon Bostic with the 5oth overall pick in last month’s Draft, many fans were disappointed that the team did not go after a different linebacker prospect in Kansas State’s Arthur Brown.

Brown wound up in Baltimore, set to replace a legend in Ray Lewis, and Bostic may be relied upon to do the same in Chicago, replacing Brian Urlacher.

After signing veterans D.J. Williams and James Anderson, it was assumed that Williams would become the starter at middle linebacker and Anderson would take over at the strongside linebacker position. It is still very possible that ends up being the case, but the strong showings by Bostic in the Bears’ minicamps have some believing he could push for a starting role.

Former Florida Gator and Chicago Bear Wilbur Marshall was not shy with his praise of Bostic, telling the Chicago Tribune, “Now that [Brian] Urlacher is gone, hopefully he can get a fast start. He’s got a lot of speed and he’s a very smart kid. He can pick up things very quickly. He’ll be just like Urlacher. Just like Mike Singletary.”

Comparing Bostic to Urlacher and Singletary before he has even stepped on the field at the NFL level is a bit premature, but it goes to show that others believe in what he can do.

Bostic is a very solid tackler, and his great instincts allow him to find the football, but he does need to work on his pass coverage skills. He plays well in zone coverage but tends to struggle at times in man coverage when he has to cover tight ends or running backs.

He is an underrated pass rusher and showed the ability to rush not only up the middle but off the edge while at Florida. Under Lovie Smith, the Bears relied more on their front four to get pressure on the quarterback, but if new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker wants to do more blitzing from the linebacker position, Bostic has the ability.

Training Camp will be key for him to prove he has the ability to play with the number ones, and if he performs well, he could push Williams to the outside as the strongside linebacker and put Anderson on the bench.

His coverage skills will have to improve, particularly in man coverage, but Williams’ coverage skills will likely keep him on the field and force Bostic off in nickel and dime packages.

Having two proven NFL starters ahead of him on the depth chart will make it difficult to crack the starting lineup, but he possesses all of the tools to be an NFL starter, and he may end up filling those shoes left behind by Brian Urlacher a bit sooner than expected.

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