Senior Bowl: Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin


Oct 12, 2013; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Chris Borland (44) during the game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin won 35-6. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings’ defense was seriously talent deprived in the final year of the Leslie Frazier-Alan Williams regime. Rick Spielman will certainly want to rectify that situation and not put Mike Zimmer and George Edwards in the same tough spot.

Linebacker is one position that must be addressed, in urgent fashion. 2013 starters Erin Henderson and Audie Cole are arguably back-up level at best, and Chad Greenway, though a solid starter, has battled some inconsistency the last couple years.

One linebacker prospect getting a ton of buzz at the Senior Bowl is Wisconsin’s Chris Borland. Big 10 fans know about Borland’s tenacity and intelligence at the MLB position. Now the scouts at the Senior Bowl are finding out all about him too.

Once again, it’s our old pal Mike Mayock ringing the bell the loudest. Mayock loves Borland, and compares him favorably to Carolina Panthers star Luke Kuechly.

Here are some assessments of Borland from the first couple days of the Senior Bowl:

Dan KadarWisconsin’s Chris Borland…is a natural in space. If teams can get over his lack of height and arm length, he could be nice addition. A Baltimore Ravens representative spent a considerable amount of time with Borland after practice on Tuesday.

Erik GelkoChris 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.

Tony PaulineBorland is another size-deficient prospect who stepped up big today. The Wisconsin product showed a complete game, making several nice plays defending the run as well as covering the pass. Borland plays smart, tough football and rarely makes mental mistakes. The fact he measured just 5-11 ½ today will relegate him to the draft’s second day yet Borland exceeded expectations during the first Senior Bowl practice.

BuffaloBills.comWisconsin LB Chris Borland was a standout, using his great instincts and speed to fly around the field. He seems to have a knack for quickly diagnosing plays and getting to where the action is. Borland’s height, (5’11″) will be a drawback for him in the draft.

Scott Wright: For the second day in a row, Wisconsin LB Chris Borland was one of the most active players on the field, seeing action both inside and outside. It appears as though this is going to be one of those classic battles between physical tools and the tape. Even though Borland lacks the prototypical height that you look for and has short arms he compensates with instincts that may be unparalleled in this class.

“Instinct” is a word that will come up with Borland a lot. He is one of those guys who just seems to be playing a half-tick faster than almost everyone else on the field. You will never out-work him or out-think him. If he gets beat, it’s only because he’s a little too small (this makes him a slight liability in coverage, for example).

Borland could potentially give the Vikings a true defensive quarterback and leader at the Mike linebacker. Right now he figures to go in the second or third round.

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