Brian Urlacher is absolutely irreplaceable, even if a linebacker that's still in college is a top five pick in the NFL draft in the next decade, there's a 95% chance he won't be as good as the future hall of famer. Urlacher is the face of the franchise, one of the all-time greats and when he retires the void in Chicago will be one that may NEVER be filled.
With that in mind there is absolutely no fair way to compare Dom DeCicco to Urlacher and say they are similar. The only thing similar about the two is that they both are big, both are fast and both played safety in college. DeCicco will never be the next Brian Urlacher, and neither will Manti Te'o the big fast studly linebacker from Notre Dame.
There is however the question of whether or not Dom DeCicco can be the starting middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears in two to three years. As of right now the Bears are giving DeCicco every opportunity to go out there and develop into that role. DeCicco the second year linebacker from Pitt has bulked up from his rookie year and has decent enough ability in coverage that he can take on some of the responsibilities that exist in this defense.
With Urlacher recovering from his knee injury DeCicco has been playing with the first team at the middle linebacker position. DeCicco played the same position during the pre-season last year and it's his focus now after a quiet rookie season. DeCicco made the 53-man roster as a UDFA and was the Bears' second leading special teams tackler.
During OTAs DeCicco has taken charge on special teams and shown a natural leadership ability according to Jeremy Stolzt of Bear Report magazine. DeCicco is helping the rookies out on special teams, showing them where they have to be to block and what lanes they have to maintain in coverage.
What does this all mean? It means DeCicco is growing as a player and showing a willingness to work hard. What comes next will likely be evident all throughout veteran mini-camp, training camp and more importantly throughout the four games of the pre-season. DeCicco has the biggest opportunity of his football career right now in front of him a chance he may never have again.
As of right now DeCicco is the starting middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears, until Urlacher comes back from injury. DeCicco could potentially get more reps than Urlacher during training camp, because the Bears could prefer to ease Urlacher back into action from his injury. DeCicco will get all of the reps during veteran mini-camp and will get more snaps on defense during the Bears' four pre-season games than any other player in competition for the MIKE spot.
All that's left for the young linebacker from the football mecca of Pennsylvania is for him to grab the bull by the horns and show the coaches that he can be a starting linebacker in the NFL. Being a starter capable player is all he needs to show in order to have a chance to come in and play after an all-time great.