The New York Giants definitely need to bolster their linebacking corps this offseason. Chris Borland is one of the more interesting linebackers in the 2014 draft. He landed on the preseason "Freaks" list, but is hardly the Height / Weight / Speed phenom that the Giants usually target on defense.
But should Jerry Reese be interested despite that?
- Highly Instinctive
- Strong leader
- Incredibly explosive lower body
- VERY thick build
- Physical in the run game
- Fluid in coverage
- Wide open motor. Never gives up on a play and is always looking to make a tackle
- Short (not undersized), with short arms
- Lacks elite range and speed
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Well, the Giants need a linebacker. Provided they re-sign veteran Jon Beason, that would seem to have the middle linebacker spot sewn up. However, Beason's health has been spotty (to say the least) the last few years, so depth could be crucial.
The Giants usually target big athletes with their first three picks, and generally favor guys with long arms and big hands. Borland isn't exactly undersized per say ... He is short, not small. However his lack of length will be a concern. He plays with good leverage and makes use of his powerful lower body to shed blockers, and his instincts, IQ, motor, and passion are beyond repute.
Borland deserves a look in the second round at the very least.
No. 44 Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin vs Ohio St '13 (via SportCutups)
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 42
Mocking The Draft - 96
CBS Sports - 77
Draft Tek - 93
Chris Borland is a fun linebacker to watch. He plays the game with a wide open motor and is trying to not just stop, but drive the ball carrier back on every play. In fact, he plays the run like a fullback. He doesn't so much shed blockers as tries to blow them up (or at least discard them).
His instincts are top-notch, and he is a better athlete than he looks like he should be. Bruce Feldman's annual "Freaks List" had this to say about Chris Borland (who came in at No. 9).
The 5-11, 245-pound linebacker -- the 2009 Big Ten Freshman of the Year -- has had a knack for turning heads from the days even before he was a Badger. In fact, former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema once told me he remembered noticing Borland in one of the Badgers camps. "I'm watching him and he had about five interceptions in about an hour and half of 7-on-7," said Bielema.
Borland does a standstill box jump of 51 inches, said strength coach Evan Simon. "He can also do a standing back flip at will and one time landed one in the splits for fun. He is as solid as two rocks and one of the hardest workers you'll find."
The only real knocks on Borland are his height and arm length, or lack thereof. If he were 6-foot-4 with 32 inch arms, as opposed to 6-foot with 28 inch arms, he might be a first-round pick, and there certainly wouldn't be talk that he could fall out of the second round.