After an offseason and first round of the draft devoted largely to offense, the Bears turned their attention to the future of the defense, selecting Florida linebacker Jonathan Bostic with the 20th pick of the second round, the 50th overall pick of the draft.
Bostic will come to minicamp as the No. 2 middle linebacker but he is not expected to remain the No. 2 anything for very long. The Bears may have drafted the successor to Brian Urlacher this season or Lance Briggs in a year or two.
“[We] expect him to be a starter in the future, whether that’s ‘Will,’ ‘Mike’ or ‘Sam,’” general manager Phil Emery said. “Whatever works for us in that given situation at that time.”
The 6-1, 245-pound linebacker posted a 4.61 in the 40-yard dash, the kind of speed the Bears have demanded of their linebackers in the Lovie Smith and now the Mel Tucker scheme.
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Bostic will start his Bears career focused on the middle linebacker spot and will have an opportunity to wrest the starting job from newcomer D.J. Williams. But general manager Phil Emery said that one of the reasons the Bears chose Bostic was his ability to initially back up all three positions.
“[We] felt that it was very important,” said Emery, “that if we were going to take a linebacker in the second round that we get somebody who could immediately fill in in all three spots if one of our starters – our current starters – was not available due to injury that he could fill-in immediately and we would have a good football player in-place right now.”
Settling on a spot
Bostic said he began as a weak-side linebacker at Florida. But he was rated the fourth-best middle linebacker in the nation coming out of high school and broke in as the starting MLB for Florida seven games into the 2010 season. He started six games that season and all 13 in the next two, all in the middle.
In 2012 Florida finished fourth in the nation in run defense (95 yards per game) and fifth in total yardage and points (14.4 per game).
Bostic, chosen with the pick brought to the Commissioner by 1986 No. 1 Bears pick Neal Anderson, has been a three-down middle linebacker for Florida. He collected two interceptions last season in addition to a pair of pass breakups and three sacks.
“To tell you the truth it really doesn’t matter to me [what position],” Bostic said. “I went to college playing corner and safety and I knew I was going to be a linebacker going in. I went to college to play ‘Will’… .
“Linebacker is linebacker. It’s just where you line up, so it’s not really that big of a difference to me.”
The son of former Detroit Lions defensive back Jon Bostic, the younger Bostic started all 26 games over his final two years in Gainesville and did not miss a game in his four years at Florida, with no redshirt year.
If there was any slim possibility of Brian Urlacher returning, selecting Bostic after signing free agent D.J. Williams effectively locks that door; the Bears now have two middle linebackers on the roster.
“It’s not pressure at all to me,” Bostic said. “[I’m] more of a guy that can pretty much watch and learn a lot of things on film. They say they’re going to keep a lot of the schemes and the terminology the same, so I’m just really kind of excited to get up there.”