NFL Draft 2014: Wisconsin ILB Chris Borland scouting notes

Gregory Shamus

3rd part of a series of Scouting notes I will post on BCC for some 2014 Draft Prospects that I believe the Jaguars could target. This is very early in the process and in no way are these final opinions, just some early thoughts.

Here is yet another front 7 prospect I think could be a potential Jaguar target, this time a ILB. I am in the camp that says the Jaguars will need an upgrade at the MLB position by next April. Nothing against Paul Posluzny, but I simply believe he is just a stop gap and is not a long term fixture. I could be wrong of course, and I normally am, but he just does not fit the defense, the MLB needs to be a quick, rangy type who can play in space and flow freely to the ball, he is due for a large pay day in 2014, and is upgradable IMO. I like Poz for what he is, but I think there are better options for the future. So here is my preseason notes on Wisconsin ILB Chris Borland.

Measurables

Height: 5'11"

Weight: 248

Class: SR

RUN DEFENSE

  • Quick to fill his gap.
  • Has a knack for finding the ball and making plays at, or behind, the LOS.
  • Is not overly physical when taking on blocks, but has the athleticism to fight around them.
  • Would like to see more Stack and Shed ability. Uses his hands to gain separation, but does not use them to shed.
  • Terrific closing speed on ball carriers.
  • Very good tackling range, able to make plays from all over the field.
  • Good backside pursuit.
  • Pursuit angles are inconsistent.
  • Bad tackling from that will need to be cleaned up a bit. Too many times he dives at runners legs instead of wrapping up.
  • Has a knack for forcing turnovers by punching the ball out from ball carriers.
  • Misses too many tackles downfield in space, but makes most of them at LOS or between tackles.
  • Lacks great change of direction skills IMO.

PASS DEFENSE

  • A bit slow in reaction to passes while in zone coverage.
  • Can be fooled by play action fakes.
  • Flips his hips and is able to run with his man in man to man coverage.
  • Gets good depth in his zone, but too many times lets the receiver get in front of him.
  • Good A-Gap blitzer. Good snap anticipation, first step, and powerful punch.
  • Better blitzer than he is pure pass rusher.

INSTINCTS

  • Reads is keys and diagnoses plays well.
  • Patient enough to let the play come to him. Does not over pursue or misstep very often.
  • Can be fooled by play action, but reads draw plays very well.
  • Seemingly knows where the play is going to develop, before it does. Puts himself in the right position constantly.

OVERALL

I like Borland more as a WILL LB in most NFL defenses, due to the fact that his athletic ability and large tackling range would be even greater when playing in space. But for a scheme like the Jaguars, I like him as a MLB. In this defense the 2 gapping D line would enable him to read his keys and flow freely to the ball. He would not have to take on as many blockers as a typical MLB would, and he could put his athletic ability and instincts to good use. He needs some work in zone coverage and tackling technique, but he has the raw athleticism and instincts to thrive as a MLB in a scheme like the Jaguars. I am not one to make big comparisons, but I do see some similarities with Borland to Bobby Wagner coming out of college. They are not the same player, but they are similar in the fact that both Wagner in College, and Borland at Wisconsin, perform well when given room to flow to the ball and they have great instincts. Neither one is/was particularity strong at the POA in college, but they compensated for it with good athletic ability. Borland is an exciting player to track forward, and it will be interesting to see how many strides he makes in 2013.

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