LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- As is the case with most first-year players, the quickest way for Chicago Bears rookie linebackers Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene to make an immediate impact this upcoming season figures to be on special teams, an area Chicago's coaching staff emphasized on Saturday during the second day of rookie minicamp.
Bostic gives new special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis another potential four-phase player, due in large part to the linebacker’s speed. Bostic was one of the fastest linebackers in the 2013 draft class, a major reason the Bears selected him in the second round at No. 50 overall.
“Bostic has got all the attributes you are looking for,” DeCamillis said. “He’s definitely a tough kid, a smart kid who can run in the open spaces, and that will help him, no question about that. He’ll be a four-phase guy; we just need to find the right spots for him. If he’s going to be here he’s going to be on special teams, and I know he’s going to be here.
“I saw some good things on film from Greene, too. I really liked what we saw from both of those guys on film, especially in the early parts of their college careers when they played more special teams. They can work in the open spaces. I think both of these guys have a chance to be good players for us.”
The hope is that Bostic and Greene eventually turn into full-time starters on defense; however, it’s difficult to predict if or when that will occur.
Greene spent the early portions of rookie minicamp working exclusively at weakside linebacker, a spot currently occupied by seven-time Pro Bowler Lance Briggs, who has two years left on his contract.
On paper, Bostic’s chances of cracking the starting lineup appear more promising, but nothing is assured. Bostic is expected to compete with veteran middle linebacker D.J. Williams and veteran strongside linebacker James Anderson, who each inked one-year deals with the Bears in the offseason.
Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker put Bostic at middle linebacker during the rookie minicamp, although the team does feel the rookie can play all three linebacker spots.
“He’s a smart guy, he’s a take-control guy,” Tucker said. “He’s been that (a middle linebacker) and is comfortable making the calls and controlling the huddle. Those are all positives.”
But can a rookie handle the responsibility of starting at middle linebacker in the Bears’ defensive system?
“It’s a case-by-case deal,” Tucker said. “You just have to wait and see. Our job is to get the best players on the field, so we’ll see how it shakes out. But you never want to paint a guy into a box. It’s open competition across the board in our system, but obviously we are not going to pre-determine what a guy can or cannot do early.
“So we’ll just see.”