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Thread: Breakdown of Wisconsin LB Chris Borland (Senior Bowl, career tape and other notes)

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    JakeMcAwful's Avatar
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    Breakdown of Wisconsin LB Chris Borland (Senior Bowl, career tape and other notes)

    Someone who's been a stand-out in the Senior Bowl practices by all accounts is Wisconsin Badger LB Chris Borland. As we may be in the market for drafting a linebacker, I thought I would pull together some info on him..

    -----------

    SENIOR (Measurements taken from Senior Bowl)

    LB Borland, Chris Wisconsin Height - 5'11 3/8 245 lbs Hand - 9 3/4 Arm - 28 7/8 Wing - 73 3/8

    - ESPN Article -
    Borland is short at 5-foot-11. His recruiting profile next to Clowney's is laughable. He played soccer and other sports growing up, didn't participate in organized football until high school and appeared headed for a Division III school until wowing Wisconsin at a summer camp before his senior season. Of the 17 players in Wisconsin's 2009 recruiting class graded by ESPN recruiting, Borland received the second lowest.

    He'll finish his career Wednesday as one of the best defensive players in team history, a four-year starter with multiple All-America honors who earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors this season. His NFL draft forecast isn't as promising as Clowney's -- most mocks have him in the second or third round -- but few defensive players have more accomplished college careers.

    "He's as good as advertised," Andersen said.


    NFL Network - Video with Mike Mayock, Charles Davis & DJ discussing his NFL potential


    Senior Bowl performance so far (Will update as I find more)

    - Eric Galko (@optimumscouting) -
    Tuesday -- "Chris Borland is really taking advantage of the week with another strong performance. He has a real feel for the game and minimizes his size limitations by using leverage and short area explosiveness to his advantage and disengaging quickly from blockers. Scouts have also been impressed with his pursuit effort as he’s been flying to the football all week."

    Wednesday -- "Chris Borland excelled again in his diagnosis of plays, composed read steps and instincts. Borland fits in the run game better than any of the backers here, has the hip snap to meet blockers in the hole and stay balanced to disengage for the play. During team drills, he even showcased cover skills by baiting Logan Thomas into a interception on a late shallow cross throw over the middle of the field. Borland will be a riser for us at Optimum Scouting after this week."

    - Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) -
    "Liked Chris Borland a lot heading into the week. Still do. His instincts are amazing."

    - Todd McShay (@McShay13) -
    "WISC LB Borland is an animal. Great instincts. Strong this wk as rusher and in cvg. Doesn't have measurables but who cares. He's a player!"

    - Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) -
    "I think I'm the only 1 that's riding the fence on Chris Borland. Heard "I love that dude" a bunch and "good college player, bad pro" a bunch."

    College Stats
    Season GP/GS UT AT Tot. Tackles TFL
    QBS FF
    FR
    INT
    PD
    2009 13/6 36 18 54 10.5 5 5 3 1 3
    2010 2/2 5 2 7 2 1 0 0 0 0
    2011 14/14 64 79 143 19 2.5 5 0 2 7
    2012 12/12 56 48 104 10 4.5 3 3 0 6
    2013 12/12 73 39 112 8.5 4 2 2 0 2
    Totals
    55/48
    234
    186
    420
    50
    17
    15
    8
    3
    18
    Game Footage
    vs Ohio St (2013)
    vs Arizona St (2013)
    vs Stanford (2012 bowl)
    vs Nebraska (2012)
    vs Purdue (2012)
    vs Illinois (2012)
    vs Illinois (2011)
    vs Michigan St (2011)


    Massive thanks to the guys over at Draft Breakdown for those videos, thats why I linked to their site rather than the youtube links. So I'm not very good at analysing players and how they'll project to the NFL (you can decide for yourselves with the videos) but from what I see is a hyper-instinctual linebacker who isn't as athletic as you'd like. Great at diagnosing plays, has a bit of difficulty shedding blocks but knows how to blitz well, play coverage with instincts and, imagine this, a solid & reliable tackler. As Mike Mayock put it, "Y'know what, there are certains time when a kid is just a football player". Obviously, I like the guy and I think we really missed that in our LB corps this year.

    In terms of the Dolphins taking this guy, I'm not so sure. I expect him to be a mid-low 2nd/high 3rd round pick - and I'm not sure we take a linebacker that high when we already have four commitments at the position (Misi/Ellerbe/Wheeler/Jenkins). But hopefully our new GM is smarter than that, and can see a massive need for an instinctual linebacker and a massive talent in Chris Borland. I'd love to hear your opinions on him though, and whether you want the phins to pick him up.

    HOUSEKEEPING By the way, three guys I'm paying close attention to in the senior bowl and draft coverage are RB Charles Sims, OT/OG Zack Martin, and OG Gabe Jackson. Could be potential fits for the phins in rounds 1-3. Worth keeping an eye on, as they're impressing so far. Other notes - here's a journal that's being updated everyday by Vandy WR Jordan Matthews and Chris Borland on their Senior Bowl experiences - worth a read. Finally, if you want a video breakdown of the entire Shrine Game, look no further.
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    FearTheBeard's Avatar
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    Those arms are freakishly short, but it shouldn't matter. Some guys can just ball, if he's there in the 3rd he'd be a great pick.

    Sign: Daryn Colledge
    Draft: 1. LB Ryan Shazier 2. OL Joel Bitonio 3. WR Donte Moncrief 4. OL Brandon Thomas 5. OT Laurent Duvernay Tardif 6. RB Bo Oliver 7. TBD

    LT Albert LG Smith C Pouncey RG Colledge RT Bitonio
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    JakeMcAwful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FearTheBeard View Post
    Those arms are freakishly short, but it shouldn't matter. Some guys can just ball, if he's there in the 3rd he'd be a great pick.
    Agreed, he'd be perfect at the top of the third. If they want him though, our #20 in the second may be needed. Yeah, arms that short could lead to more missed tackles if the technique is off.. Luckily his technique is pretty good but its something to keep an eye on.
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    Love the guy. Don't know if he'll last to the 3rd. I would spend a 2nd and not look back.
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    finfan54's Avatar
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    I would only go 2nd round if we trade down and pick up another 2. Otherwise I am waiting. If you cant get him in 3rd pick up the princeton kid at DT.

    If these alot of these guys stock rise, that means others will fall. Let the draft come to you. Thats what Cincy does.
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    JakeMcAwful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by finfan54 View Post
    I would only go 2nd round if we trade down and pick up another 2. Otherwise I am waiting. If you cant get him in 3rd pick up the princeton kid at DT.

    If these alot of these guys stock rise, that means others will fall. Let the draft come to you. Thats what Cincy does.
    Sometimes the move needs to made to get the guy you want.. We've been left hanging dry a lot when we waited around - e.g. Cordy Glenn taken one pick ahead of Jon Martin, Jimmy Graham left until the fourth round. I'm not saying Borland is worth the potential trade up, just sometimes its necessary if the right talent drops.

    By the way, I love your mock in your sig. Give me Martin / Moses / Borland or Skov (or Christian Kirksey) in the first three rounds and I'll forget everything about this GM mess.
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    JakeMcAwful's Avatar
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    By the way, after watching the Senior Bowl - nothing about my opinion on Borland has changed. He showed exactly the same skills he championed in college. He sifted through traffic, made great tackles (8 of them, 1 for loss) and forced a fumble on a great read on an RB dumpoff. He's still limited athletically, and could see his stock drop as a result of this. I noticed one or two times where he got his feet caught in coverage, but its hard to know if that was indecision or just nerves/not being familiar with scheme or teammates.

    Three other players that piqued my interest were TE Crockett Gilmore, RB David Fluellen and LB Christian Kirksey. I haven't done any more research into these guys, but they should all be interesting Day 3 options for us.
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    I'd go w/ Morris from Iowa in the 5th.
    Winning without ethics is not winning at all - Don Shula.








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    sinPHIN's Avatar
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    Superman logo2013 Dolphins Logo1972 Dolphins Logo
    I want this guy bad. his instincts are crazy. he would instantly upgrade this d. take him in the second he is worth it no question.
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    Fin Thirteen's Avatar
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    The kid is tiny. If you want to take a chance that his size won't limit his effectiveness in the NFL, then I put it to you that a second rounder is a very high price to find out. Especially with a talent like Smallwood in the second and guys like Lamin Barrow and Shayne Skov in the mix a little further down.

    I value instinct more than just about anything at LB, but you have to be prepared to accept the ramifications of having a super-instinctual player arrive at the right place and the right time, and be unable to physically prevent his target from gaining yards. At it's most basic level, Borland has to ankle tackle most RBs, TEs and receivers to be sure of taking them down. Watch the tape. He often starts by wrapping up high and then slips down to take the legs. As human beings are about 2 yards high, every tackle he makes surrenders close to 2 yards more than a LB who can stop a runner in his tracks. That's why RBs who always fall forward have better stats than those who don't. Falling forward with Borland around your ankles isn't hard. Falling forward with Karlos Dansby in your grille is hard.

    In many cases, he just won't stop a guy at all, even if he diagnosed the play perfectly. I'm not even bringing up his very short arms at this point, which instantly limits his range in a big way.

    I might be prepared to live with that on my roster, but not with a second or even third round pick.

    PS I also rate Wisconsin very highly as a producer of NFL-grade talent. The buyer beware is that some players have reached close to their max under the Badgers programme.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. - S. Beckett
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