Round 2 – No. 50 (overall)
Jon Bostic, LB
Height: 6’1″ – Weight: 245 lbs.
Age: 21 – Class: Senior
When former Florida Gators running back Neal Anderson walked on the stage at Radio City Music Hall on Friday, he not only had the opportunity to announce the Chicago Bears’ next draft selection but also the next to come out of his alma mater as the team chose linebacker Jon Bostic with the No. 50 overall pick in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
A three-year starter at Florida and the straw that stirred the drink for the Gators’ top 10-ranked defense, Bostic was highly-coveted by NFL front offices for his instinctiveness, tackling ability and high football IQ. He even erased concerns about his speed by running a 4.61-second 40-yard dash at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine. Quality recommendations from head coach Will Muschamp and his former defensive coordinator, Charlie Strong, also raised Bostic’s stock through the draft process.
“I’m very proud of Jon, he really worked hard for this moment,” Muschamp said. “Last offseason, we sat down with Jon and told him the things he needed to work on and he really attacked those things. His hard work has paid off now and we wish him the best.”
Bostic started all 26 games at middle linebacker for Florida over the last two seasons, registering a total of 162 tackles (a team-high 94 in 2011) with 16.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions.
“Very pleased that we were able to get Jon Bostic,” Chicago general manager Phil Emery said. “The reason we like Jon? He’s a three-position player, three-position linebacker. I felt it was very important, 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. … Obviously he will be given an opportunity to earn a starting job. We see him as a future starter. Again, a very dynamic player, another player that was very high in our athletic ratings and was also a very productive player.”
Emery also discussed why Bostic was the right fit for the Bears. “One, his intelligence; he’s a guy that can line up others. We brought him in for a visit and we felt very good about his football aptitude and his ability to line everybody else up on the field,” he explained. “Two, he’s fast; he’s one of the fastest linebackers in the class. Three was his positional flexibility and four was his special teams. He fit the bill.”
He continued: “I can’t undersell the type of young man this is. He’s very easy to be around. He’s another guy that will bring others in. He’s very invested in football, and he’s a very good person.”
On Friday, Bostic became the first Florida linebacker selected since Brandon Spikes (No. 62, 2010) and the 24th player selected by Chicago in the history of the draft. He will be counted on to replace future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher in the middle of the Bears’ defense and joins safety Major Wright (No. 75, 2010) on the team.
“I know they have a great tradition of linebackers,” Bostic said. “Obviously, to play at this level, it’s going to take a lot of work. I haven’’t played at this level before, so I know it is going to take a lot of work, a lot of studying to catch up to the speed of the game.”