With the 2013 season winding down for the Wisconsin Badgers, it’s never too early to start wondering which players will be suiting up in the NFL next season. One player in particular that always appears to be an area of focus in Wisconsin is linebacker Chris Borland, who has proven to be the heart and soul of the Badgers. As much as he is respected as a great college football player, does he have what it takes to be a linebacker at the professional level?
Throw out the fact that Borland is undersized. At 5-foot-11, 245 pounds, Borland will stack up much smaller than the average NFL linebacker will. With that being said, what he does have is something that is rarely seen. In fact, it is a quality that is seen in most players that were told they weren’t big enough to play at the next level.
Borland is 100 percent dedicated to being the best. He has a motor that never stops and the determination to excel no matter what job he is given to do. More importantly, he understands that being the toughest player on the gridiron is the only way to succeed.
“He is one of a small percentage of athletes who are both genetically gifted and give 100 percent effort,” Wisconsin strength coach Evan Simon said, according to ESPN.com. “That’s a rare breed. He will be the standard we use for every football player that comes in here for years to come. That will be his legacy.”
Borland is all about legacy. However, unlike Badgers great Ron Dayne, Borland doesn’t want his legacy to end at the collegiate level. The good news is it shouldn’t.
The fifth-year senior has another outstanding quality found in the most successful players in the NFL. He understands the only way to be the best is preparation. The point is to prepare so much during the week that everything appears to be natural on game day. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers knows this better than anyone does, which is why he dominates the game at a level that is rarely seen in the NFL. If Borland wants to make a difference at the next level, he must take his preparation a step further.
The question that is on every Wisconsin fan’s mind is if Borland will play in the NFL. It is hard to imagine that he won’t, especially with the amount of talent he possesses and his incredible work ethic. At this point, it is not a matter of if, but rather, a matter of where he will be selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. Undersized or not, don’t expect to see Borland fall too far away from the first round.