So apparently it hasn’t exactly been an explosive offseason in terms of teams acquiring players in free agency or trades that have been able to make a big impact for their teams so far during the 2018 regular season. With the obvious exception of Khalil Mack, there hasn’t been a lot of bang for big-ticket bucks around the league.
There is perhaps no better evidence for that than an article posted on the league’s website yesterday highlighting the ‘top 10 afterthought acquisitions’ of the offseason, which featured Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Jon Bostic as the number three addition on the list, behind Adrian Peterson and Robert Quinn.
Chris Wesseling writes about the Steelers linebacker, “it’s not Bostic’s fault that the Steelers’ defense is allowing nearly 30 points per game since losing sideline-to-sideline playmaker Ryan Shazier to a spinal injury last December”.
And it’s really not. While he might have gotten beat by Travis Kelce a time or two in Week Two, Bostic has generally been a solid contributor to the defense so far, even making—for whatever it’s worth—the team of the week for Pro Football Focus in Week One.
“Carrying a cap hit of just $1.5 million, Bostic has pulled off a convincing Shazier impersonation, leading the team in tackles as a run-stuffer while adding a pair of sacks and a tipped pass that led to Mike Hilton‘s red-zone interception Monday night”, he concluded.
Through three games, the sixth-year linebacker has recorded 21 tackles to go along with two passes defensed—one of which led to an interception, as previously mentioned—and two sacks. He has five total sacks in his career, two of which came in his rookie season. He has one a season ago with the Indianapolis Colts.
While it’s quite early for projections, Bostic right now is on pace to hit 112 tackles on the season, which would set a career-high and would be 22 more than any Steelers defender had a year ago. He has so far proved to be a solid complement to Vince Williams, who has 20 tackles on the season, though he has yet to register a sack after having eight a year ago.
I thought Monday’s game was another strong performance for the free agent signing, outside of the unnecessary roughness penalty, and I will spend some time tomorrow breaking down some of his key snaps in a film room article.
One thing you can say about Bostic is that he certainly earned his way into the lineup. The Steelers didn’t hand him anything. While he might not have had a ton of competition, he had to fight for his playing time, and so far it’s worked out well for both sides.