NFL Draft Prospect Profile: LB Chris Borland All Green Bay Packers All the Time


Chris Borland
LB Chris Borland

Packers prospect profile:  LB Chris Borland

Player Information:

Chris Borland, LB  Wisconsin, 5-11, 248 pounds  Hometown: Kettering, OH


NFL Combine:

40 time: 4.83

Vertical jump: 31″

225 lb. bench: 27 reps

Broad jump: 9’06”

News and Notes:

Three-time first-team All Big 10 three years in a row (2011 – 2013). . .Wisconsin’s all-time leader with 14 forced fumbles. . .2013 second-team AP All-American. . .high-character, was a finalist for Lott IMPACT Trophy (biggest influence on team). . .41.5 tackles for a loss at Wisconsin. . has drawn many comparisons to Zach Thomas, former NFL linebacker who was “undersized” yet had a successful 12-year career in the league.

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • Heady, passionate player. Consistently diagnoses action correctly, attacking seams to make plays near the line of scrimmage and showing better than advertised speed and change of direction while dropping into coverage. He is a no-nonsense LB, showing impressive pop and determination to get to the ball. Borland is disciplined in space and is rarely fooled, showing good body positioning and timing in coverage. Despite stellar production, Borland’s pedestrian size and athleticism hurt, but there is some validity to the Zach Thomas comparisons. He lacks elite speed and range to consistently play sideline-to-sideline, but effort and motor aren’t questions. Lack of length shows near the line of scrimmage.
  •  Is built low to the ground and bends his knees. Keen eyes and instincts — has a nose for the ball. Quick to fill downhill. Motor runs hot — pursues hard and seldom quits on plays. Flows well laterally. Aware in zone. Capable of bringing pressure as a blitzer. Good leaping ability. Intense competitor who loves to play and it shows. Defensive playmaker — piled up 50 career TFL and 14 FFs. Started 45 career games. Special intangibles. Is short. Too easily neutralized (struggles to disengage). Eclipsed by larger offensive linemen. Can do a better job protecting his legs. Average explosion, tackle strength and pop on contact. Lets runners escape his grasp. Exposed in space. Has man-coverage limitations, especially against tight ends (lacks length to match up). Durability could be an issue.


Video Analysis:

  • As I always disclaim, this is a “highlight” reel, so does not show any of Borland’s weak spots
  • It’s been repeated ad nauseam but the enthusiasm, effort and hustle out of him flies off the tape
  • The speed of the NFL game might take some adjusting for Borland, but his football intelligence can be a huge asset
  • Always around the ball.  Doesn’t wait for teammates to make the play
  • Has above-average strength for his size. Can take on bigger ball carriers
  • Good fundamentals or as Mike McCarthy would say “pad level”.  Uses leverage very well
  • Some have questioned his ability to make the big hit.  I see plenty of potential there, even if on special teams
  • Natural leader and the type of guy who would help get everyone lined up right pre snap
  • Pass coverage, especially near the goal line, will likely be a challenge and Borland may have to be replaced in that situation

If drafted by the Packers:

Everyone has been talking about the safety and defensive line positions in Green Bay, but inside linebacker is an under-the-radar need as well.  The tandem of A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones has not produced any magical results over the course of two seasons and the Packers have openly said they’re looking for a playmaker.  While Borland may not be your ideal pedigree coming into the NFL, this is a very smart and aggressive football player.  The Packers would almost certainly benefit from having this type of guy on their defense and/or special teams.  The Packers would likely have to spend their second pick on Borland, assuming that he is still there when their turn comes around.  What they do in round one and also how they address the safety spot will play a huge role in determining whether Borland would be on their radar.  If, for example, linebacker C.J. Mosley fell to the Packers and they took him early, Borland would likely not be an option as early as he is projected to go (round two).  He seems like the type that Packers general manager Ted Thompson would snatch up if he were to fall into round three and offer more value there.  Borland’s sheer effort would seem to be an upgrade over what the current middle linebackers can offer on a blitz.  He is able to gain leverage and make plays on larger ball carriers.  Even if for depth and special teams purposes, the Packers would be getting the type of player that fits into their mold and can come in and contribute right away, in some capacity.


Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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23 thoughts on “NFL Draft Prospect Profile: LB Chris Borland

  1. I like Borland, loved him at UW but didn’t he Struggle in that Bowl Game against South Carolina? It seemed the speed of So. Carolina gave Borland problems. Maybe my expectations were a little high.

  2. He’s more physical than AJ Hawk ever was. Plus he makes more plays on the ball than Hawk ever did. Not saying we should draft him, but from the get-go he is a litte different.

  3. We don’t need another A.J. Hawk. We need a guy at ILB like C.J. Mosley. A player who is fast, instinctive, and strong. A player who can cover TEs and receivers coming out of the backfield.

    I’m sick of our linebackers hitting the ball carrier two or three yards after the LOS. I want a guy like Mosley who has the quickness and strength to hit the ball carrier either at or before the LOS.

    1. Totally agree. I am tired of Hawk-like diving for the ball carrier 6 or 7 yards downfield. Borland is a local favorite but I see small and slow. This may work in college but what is he going to do with Adrian Peterson barreling down on him or trying to cover a 6’5″ TE.

      Our LB’s have been the Achilles heals of the defense and added an under-sized, slow MLB isn’t going to help the situation.

    2. Mosely looks like a bust waiting to happen to me. probably means TT will trade up to pick him.

  4. I loved watching Borland play at Wisconsin. He is a bit undersized, but the one player he has always reminded me of was Zach Thomas. It will be intriguing to watch where he lands and how his career unfolds…

  5. As with any of these guys, their value is a function of where they are taken. In Borland’s case, he may slide based on injury concerns and lack of athleticism (more accurately, I think GMs will fall in love with guys who run better and are taller and move them up the board past Borland). I might be wrong, but last I saw I thought Borland was carrying a round 3 grade. If he slips any later than round 3, I think he’s a good catch.

  6. We need a LB that will knock someone backwards for a change. Our LB’s are hanging on for dear life being dragged for 10 to 12 yards for another First Down.

  7. If Mosley isn’t there for us in first round, I would look at Jones from FSU, Skov from Stanford,or Zumwalt from UCLA in middle rounds

  8. Whatever team drafts him won’t be disappointed. He might be the most athletic player but he has that it factor that can’t be measured.

  9. I love Borland and Aaron Donald. Both are panned for their measurables, but both stood out at the Senior Bowl and for their play on the field in college. I’ll take these kind of guys any day.

  10. I love Borland and Aaron Donald. Both are panned for their measurables, but both stood out at the Senior Bowl and for their play on the field in college. I’ll take these kind of guys any day.

  11. If Borland is not on the board, the Packers should take a look at Max Bullough in the late rounds. He’ll be there late and is coming in under the radar due to his suspension.

  12. He has a nose for the ball. Always around for the tackle. I would love to see him n a packer uniform unfortunately the Packers don’t seem to draft local talent? He would be a real steal if they could get him in a late round. Size doesn’t do you any good if your not where the ball is. Hawk is usually ready to tackle the runner 4 or five yards behind him…not this guy.

  13. I’m glad we all agree that our ILBs suck. Now if we can only agree that the guy who drafted them and gave them big bucks when he re-upped them is a clown. Probably not but there is something illogical about that. At least he drafted us a nice pair of hard-hitting ball-hawking S. oops he didn’t do that either. Well, at least he gave the guy we have a big fat pay raise for nothing. And at least he gave us a great young DL equally adept at rushing the passer and stopping the run. Oops, he didn’t do that either. Well, at least he re-upped the fat lazy turd in the middle for $4MM/yr. Two years and counting…..

  14. I’d make a round three pick of any or all of these guys – Zumwalt, Borland or Bullough. We need LBs that bring the “whack” when they tackle.

  15. Not exactly sure what ‘Motor runs hot’ means, but I like it!

    In all seriousness, he’s a gamer who will grow into a locker-room leader. If the Packers were to draft him, that means Mosley wasn’t chosen earlier. Mosley is a beast that would thrive in the Packers’ system, but Chris has all the intangibles that one could ever ask for in a player.

    I think if the Packers were to trade out of the first round and lose access to Mosley, Borland would be a great option to draft at a later time.

    Maybe trading back might even allow the Packers an opportunity to grab another game-breaker in a position fans haven’t established on their radar.

    So much respect for Chris and wish him the best! As a fan all we can do is watch, and I can’t wait to watch the success I know his attitude and work ethic will earn him.

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