It’s not going to be easy filling the hole left after the departure of Brian Urlacher, but the Chicago Bears are hoping that their second-round draft pick, Jon Bostic, is going to prove in training camp that he’s good enough to fill in for one of the franchise’s greatest player ever at the position.
At the moment, D.J. Williams, who was signed after Urlacher was released, is projected to be the starter at the position. The nine-year veteran has played his entire career for the Denver Broncos in the middle, but after failing a mandatory drug test in 2012, causing him to miss nine games, the Broncos decided it was time to severe the ties. Williams was moved to a wider position over the last couple of years, and started only one game in 2012.
In short: The Bears brought in a player with experience, but not a Pro-Bowl caliber player or with the abilities a top team expects from someone at the position, and especially after over a decade with Urlacher leading the defense. But Williams leading the race to start in just under two months doesn’t mean that after training camp he’ll still be the number one option.
Teams using second-round picks on linebackers expect to see immediate dividends. Bostic enjoyed his best season in 2012 for the Florida Gators, named to the All-SEC second team after notching 3 sacks, tied for a career high, as the Gators went on to reach the Sugar Bowl, where Florida lost to Louisville.
A 50th overall pick, Bostic did look impressive in the workouts, so training camp will be the decider. It isn’t about grooming Bostic to be Urlacher’s heir. If he’s ready to be a defensive force now, he’ll start. D.J. Williams was brought in as someone to fall back on, without a lot of expectations. If Bostic continues to impress, Williams will be moved to the outside, or simply used as a backup while another new arrival, James Anderson (previously with the Panthers) might end starting on the outside.