The Pittsburgh Steelers finally cracked free agency by adding Jon Bostic from the Indianapolis Colts. With that in mind, who better to understand the nitty gritty from than our very own managing editor and Colts expert Ben Pfeifer. We asked Pfeiffer five questions about his teams former starting inside linebacker, and translated what he said into the Steelers fans point of view.
Q: Were you surprised the Colts did not pursue Bostic further after just one season?
BP: I was not very surprised that the Colts did not resign Bostic. At 26, Bostic at this point is a serviceable linebacker, and the Colts looked at him as nothing more than a stopgap last year. The Colts’ linebacking play as a whole last year was atrocious, and the Colts’ will look to get younger and more athletic at the position this season.
Steelers fan takeaway: He is a one year rental with the potential to be a depth player. At 26 and being serviceable, he is still a better bet than anything the team currently has on the roster. Still, to bet on his immense upside is also foolish.
Q: Would you say his past injury list had to do with the team moving on from him?
Q: At least for the short term, Bostic will have to step into Ryan Shazier‘s role. The biggest loss last season showed to be his leadership and ability to call plays and get the defense aligned. Is Bostic a player with those qualities?
Q: What are your thoughts on him in coverage, especially against tight ends?
BP: Coverage is not one of Bostic’s strengths. One of the reasons the Colts didn’t resign him, I believe, was his lack of athleticism. Bostic struggles in man coverage mightily and is inconsistent in zone coverage. He got better towards the end of the year, but still is nothing special, and nowhere near Shazier. Bostic may be able to stick with slower blocking tight ends but will get exposed against more athletic tight ends like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.
Steelers takeaway: The film we saw completely agreed. In zone, he can take away the underneath in a bracket against tight ends. The rest is going to be an issue. His lack of athleticism combined with he injury concerns leave an expiration date on his starting playing time.