We knew Phil Emery wanted to get younger at linebacker. He did so by selecting Jon Bostic, linebacker, Florida. I don't know a ton about the kid firsthand. I simply haven't seen enough tape. So here's some stuff to look at.
Here is the breakdown from NFL.com:
Bostic played well enough as a junior to test the NFL draft waters, but he returned in 2012 as part of a very talented Gators defense. That same unit is loaded with junior talent, but Bostic was one of the true veteran leaders and saw a 7-6 2011 campaign transform into an 11-1 senior season. Bostic is an aggression setter, delivering big hits against opposing ball carriers in the lane or on receivers asked to run shallow crosses.
As one of the top inside linebacker prospects in the nation out of high school, Bostic had his choice of destinations. He arrived in Gainesville a semester early, and the extra work paid off with significant time on the field on special teams and the occasional spot at linebacker (he had 18 tackles on the year). He played every game of his sophomore year, starting the teams' first five games plus the Florida State matchup later on; Bostic intercepted three passes that year in addition to making 57 tackles, 2.5 for loss, and 1.5 sacks. Finally given the reins to the defense as a junior, Bostic led the team with 94 tackles, 10 of which went for loss, and three sacks. As a senior, he tallied 62 total tackles, including 6.5 for loss and three sacks.
Downhill Mike linebacker attacks lanes in the run game, often running through reach-blocks to get to his target. Immediately presses with hands on contact with good pad level to create space to work. Brings power to his tackles, stopping momentum and sometimes throwing bigger ballcarriers to the ground. Stuffs fullback blocks and holds his ground to stop linemen if unable to beat their blocks. Flashes the ability to pop off or swipe away linemen with his hands to grab backs in his immediate area. Does not mind getting in on piles or cleaning them up. Fights to take care of his responsibility, working the blocks all the way to the edge. Hustles in coverage, knows responsibilities on the tight end/running back and works to limit yards after catch. Sniffs out screens and secures the stop. Has experience at inside linebacker in both a three man front and four man front. Vocal leader that moves teammates to their correct spots.
Thickly built chest and shoulders but quickness is lacking. Won't be able to makes wasted moves after first step due to lack of burst. Has difficulties consistently get off better offensive lineman blocks and can be stiff-armed by longer ballcarriers. Hits with shoulder too often against the run, allows him to get sucked into offensive lineman's block rather than being able to make a play on the football. Overrun plays at times, lacks elite change of direction ability to recover. Closing speed to the ball is average, quicker ballcarriers elude his advances through the hole and mobile quarterbacks can run away from him. Almost gallops in the open field, won't catch pro backs and receivers from behind without help. Cut blocks at the second level give him issues. His eyes move faster than his feet can in terms of diagnosing the play and reacting.
Bostic is an absolute hammer in the middle of the Gators defense, especially against the run. He fights to take out blockers and to accomplish his assignment, but when he attacks with his shoulder Bostic fails to make a play on the football.. Even though hes not as tall as some coaches would like, his production (he led the Gators with 94 tackles as a junior), onfield attitude and instincts for the ball make him a potential mid-round pick and gives him a chance to eventually earn a starting job at the next level.
Here are some bits from Walter Football:
- "The Bears are without a third-round pick, so if they want Bostic, they would have to take him in the second round. Bostic would be a nice scheme fit in Mel Tucker's defense."
- "Player Comparison: James Anderson. At times, Anderson flashed for the Panthers since being a third-round pick in 2006. Anderson (6-2, 235) is similar in size as Bostic and both players' strength is defending the ground game. Bostic could go in the same region in the 2013 NFL Draft, and it wouldn't be surprising if Bostic is a pro comparable to Anderson."
- "Entering the NFL, Bostic's strength is his run defense. He is a tough in-the-box run defender and is very physical. He has no issues with bigger backs and attacks the line of scrimmage. There is no hesitation to take on blocks, although he needs to improve on his ability to shed blocks. Bostic is a hard-nosed defender who should will help a team's run defense."
- Needs to improve pass coverage
- Lacks change of direction ability
- Not fluid
- Needs to get better at shedding blocks
Hard to evaluate the player without extensive film study. But the decision was clear. The Bears must get younger at linebacker. They did today.