CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Only film study will reveal whether Jon Bostic truly outperformed his peers from the Chicago's 2013 draft class, but he certainly provided the most entertainment in the first quarter of a 24-17 loss to the Carolina Panthers in the exhibition opener.
With the Panthers leading 7-0 in the first quarter, Bostic intercepted a Cam Newton pass intended for former Chicago Bears tight end Greg Olsen, and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown. The play highlighted what amounted to a 7-7 draw between the starters of both teams, which had more or less pulled all the first teamers by the conclusion of the first quarter.
"I was spying the quarterback," Bostic said of his interception. "I was reading Cam's front shoulder, but really it was the blocking that kind of got me (in the end zone for the TD). Everybody was pitching in, getting down the sideline for me to get in there."
Filling in for injured starting middle linebacker D.J. Williams (calf), Bostic put together one of the more memorable showings of all the club’s younger players. Bears coach Marc Trestman made it a point to mention the club is "not ready to anoint him," as a starter.
Even Bostic says that "right now, I'm not even looking at that."
"I've got to get a lot better before I can even think about being a starter," he said. "There are so many guys that have done this for so long so much better than me. I've just got to look at the film tonight and tomorrow."
Bostic finished the game with two tackles, including one for lost yardage, and one pass breakup. Bostic also contributed extensively early on special teams.
"I think it's significant when young guys step up and make plays," Trestman said. "That's certainly gonna help their confidence. He's gonna play a lot of football for us. I was encouraged by his stamina over the course of the game. It's just great to see these young guys have success, and be able to identify and do good things. He did that today."
Here's a quick glimpse of how some of the other rookies fared:
OG Kyle Long: Because Long plays an interior offensive line position, it was difficult to get a read on how he performed. Long spent the majority of his time playing with the reserves, but played plenty of snaps with second-year man James Brown getting the start at right guard.
There's a strong chance Long will receive the start at right guard Thursday when the Bears host the San Diego Chargers.
Long called the experience Friday "unbelievable."
"I'm looking around the locker room pregame, and I'm like we all have C's on our helmets, we're freaking Bears," Long said. "There's a TV timeout. I looked at Gabe Miller our tight end, and I'm like, 'Dude, it's the weekend right now. Everyone is sitting on their couch hanging out, and we're out here playing for the Chicago Bears.' "
Long said conditioning was never an issue during his time on the field and on special teams.
"You would have to physically pull me off the field," he said.
OLB Khaseem Greene: Greene quietly put together a strong debut, finishing the game tied for the team lead in tackles (4), including one for lost yardage. Greene also contributed a stop on special teams.
WR Marquess Wilson: Caught four of the five passes thrown his way for 82 yards, including a 58-yard bomb in the second half.
DE Cornelius Washington: Two tackles, including one for lost yardage.