When the Chicago Bears re-signed D.J. Williams in March, the expectation was that the veteran would assume the starting middle linebacker job that he held prior to a season-ending torn left pectoral muscle in October.
That won't necessarily be the case.
Williams has been splitting first-team reps with 2013 second-round draft pick Jon Bostic in OTAs. Even in non-contact practices, Bostic is "making a strong impression," CSN Chicago's John Mullin reported Tuesday.
It's an interesting battle to monitor.
Williams turns 32 in July and no longer has the range he did with the Broncos last decade.
Bostic made splash plays in preseason action last summer, but was exposed as not ready for prime time during the Bears' seven-weak stretch of historically inept run defense from late October through mid-December.
There were even postseason whispers that Bostic could be moved to the outside. He will have to prove that he can shed blocks with authority and take the correct route to the ball if he's going to displace Williams in Mel Tucker's revamped defense.
It's one thing to impress the coaching staff in June drills. It's quite another to maintain that level of production once the games start to count.