San Francisco 49ers rookie LB Chris Borland has been turning heads since being selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. Borland had a decorated career in college as a member of the Wisconsin Badgers, and he will look to continue that trend as a member of the 49ers. Borland will receive every opportunity to take over the inside linebacker position as NaVorro Bowman continues to rehab from his knee injuries. Michael Willhoite is ahead of Borland on the depth chart as of now, but there is ample time for Borland to unseat the veteran linebacker from the starting opposite of Patrick Willis.
Coming into the NFL there was a knock that Borland’s lack of athleticism could hinder him, but in OTAs and minicamp he has proven otherwise. In the 49ers’ defense the middle linebacker position is essential, and at the rate he is going he could be the starting linebacker by the time Week 1 arrives. I am not taking anything from Willhoite, but if Borland takes over the reigns as the inside linebacker you shouldn’t be surprised.
It will be tough to replace the impact of the All-Pro Bowman, but it will be important to find a reliable replacement so that Bowman can take his time to recover from such a gruesome injury. It will come down to Willhoite and Borland, but I feel that after the training camp and the end of preseason Borland will be at the top of the depth chart. Borland is as tough as they come, and his style of play fits what the 49ers do on the defensive side of the ball.
There is a lot of time for Borland to continue impressing the coaches. Making an impression is everything, and Borland’s impression on the coaching staff can eventually thrust him into the starting lineup.