Year after year, there are always the naysayers within the NFL Draft. Between the National Championship Game and the time commissioner Roger Goodell announces the first overall selection, pundits, front office executives, and scouts have ample time to thoroughly dissect and nitpick everything on the prospect’s collegiate resume.
Prospect A is too slow. Prospect B is too small. Prospect C doesn’t have good enough technique. The list goes on and on, and the aforementioned shortcomings certainly apply to former Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Chris Borland, as he hopes Green Bay and other NFL franchises take a shot on the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year.
Despite the flaws those might find, Borland will find himself making a paycheck in the NFL. First and foremost, he possesses the brute strength to hold his own inside the trenches, weighing in at a sturdy 247 pounds. He gets an inside push when rushing the passer, and can utilize his shifty moves to get past hefty offensive linemen.
The Ohio native constantly displayed a knack for finding the football, and did that plenty often during his five-year career with the red and white, registering 420 total tackles and 50 tackles for loss, good for sixth and fourth in program history respectively. A major issue of Green Bay’s defense the past few years has been the team’s inability to tackle in space, especially from sideline to sideline, and Borland has exhibited that trait through and through.
To put it simply, he has the utmost amount of energy when he plays, and there’s no denying the Packers can use a spark like that, either in a secondary role on defense or primary role on special teams when he enters the league next year.While Borland has flown under the radar for most of this year’s draft process, he is finally starting to get the recognition of the scouts for his tireless work ethic and second-to-none intangibles.
But just like any other prospect in this year’s draft, Borland has noticeable flaws. He is heavily undersized for the linebacker position, standing at 5-foot-11, and that height is even a stretch. Even though he’s a good tackler in space, he isn’t all that fast in the open field, as he ran a 4.83 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and clocked an even worse time at his Wisconsin Pro Day in Madison. Plus, his lack of speed doesn’t help him in pass coverage either, which is something the Packers’ linebackers corp struggled with in 2013.
According to many, Borland is seen between a second and third-round selection. It’s hard to see Green Bay taking the gamble on him, but they certainly won’t regret the decision if they do.