By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) The Bears selected Florida linebacker Jon Bostic with the 50th overall pick Friday evening.
Bostic is 6-1, 245 pounds and could end up being the successor to Brian Urlacher for the Bears.
General manager Phil Emery said Friday night that Bostic will get a chance to compete for a starting job, but they like his ability to fill-in at all three linebacker spots.
“He’s a three position player, three position linebacker,” Emery said. “I thought it was very important that if we were going to take a linebacker in the second round that we get somebody that could immediately fill in at all three spots.”
At the very least, Bostic will be a core special teams performer next season and the team’s fourth linebacker, giving the new coaching staff some depth at a thin position.
The question is, if and when Bostic earns a starting job, will it be in the middle? The linebacker was the anchor in the middle of a dominant defense at Florida last season, making all of the defensive calls. He played in 51 games at Florida, starting 32 of those contest while recording 237 career tackles (155 solo).
Emery said Bostic is likely to begin in the middle, but he’ll ultimately leave it up to the coaching staff to determine the best fit. Bostic told reporters that he went to Florida to play on the weak side, but the middle came natural to him.
Keeping in line with Emery’s athletic, versatile preference for draft picks, the GM said Bostic was “clearly No. 1” among middle linebackers on their athletic index score.
The linebacker has a knack for making impact plays, but has been criticized for a lack of physicality. He had five career interceptions at Florida, returning one for a touchdown last season.
Emery said they had seven guys they were looking to draft at No. 50 and three of them were still available when the pick came up. They were approached about trading back, but “the value wasn’t there.” The general manager said there have been a number of trades in this year’s draft where the team trading back did not receive equal value.
“I don’t have any explanation for that,” he said. “If you’re going to trade with us, you’re going to come up with equal value.”
Bostic was the Bears’ only draft pick Friday evening because they don’t have a third round pick. Emery said the Bears wouldn’t trade for a third round pick because they don’t have enough value with their later picks.
“It would be awfully expensive,” he said, adding that it would likely cost them a second round selection next season.
The Bears hold the 117th overall pick in the fourth round, the 153rd overall pick in the fifth round and the 188 overall pick in the sixth round tomorrow.
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