Bears get Bostic signed in time for rookie minicamp
And then there was one.
With the Bears and second-round draft pick Jonathan Bostic agreeing to terms Thursday on a four-year contract, first-round pick Kyle Long is the only one of their six draft choices who remains unsigned.
Bostic, a 6-foot-1, 245-pound linebacker from Florida who was 50th overall pick in the draft, signed just in time for today's first practice in the weekend rookie minicamp. He started 32 of 51 games at middle linebacker in four seasons (2009-12) with the Gators. General manager Phil Emery believes Bostic has the versatility to back up every linebacker position and eventually become a starter.
"The reason we like Jon -- he's three-position linebacker," Emery said. "(We) felt it was very important if we were going to take a linebacker in the second round that we get somebody who could immediately fill in at all three spots. If one of our current starters was not available due to injury (Bostic) could fill in immediately, and we would have a good football player in place right now.
"Obviously he'll be given an opportunity to earn a starting job. We see him as a future starter."
Bostic's contract is believed to be similar to that of Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who was the 50th player taken overall in 2012. His four-year deal was for $4.54 million, including a $1.74 million signing bonus.
Bostic is expected to help immediately on special teams but more is expected of him, even as a rookie.
"We certainly expect him to be a core special-teams player," Emery said, "and I expect him to contribute on the field in some fashion."
Bostic enrolled a semester early at Florida and, although he originally played on the weak side, he took over at middle linebacker early in his sophomore season, calling signals for the defense. Bostic finished his career with 237 tackles, 8 sacks, 19½ tackles for loss and 5 interceptions.
His football knowledge impressed the Bears on a predraft visit to Halas Hall.
"We felt very good about his football aptitude and his ability to line everybody else up on the field," Emery said.
Bostic, whose 4.61-second 40-time at the Scouting Combine was among the best for middle linebackers, said his move to the middle wasn't difficult and moving back outside wouldn't be either.
"It was kind of just natural for me," Bostic said. "Linebacker is linebacker. It's just where you line up, so it's not really that big of a difference to me."
The Bears signed four of their draft picks last week: linebacker Khaseem Greene (fourth round), offensive tackle Jordan Mills (fifth round), defensive end Cornelius Washington (sixth round) and wide receiver Marquess Wilson (seventh round) last week.
• Follow Bob's NFL reports on Twitter @BobLeGere, and check out his Bear Essentials blog at dailyherald.com/sports.
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