San Francisco 49ers rookie linebacker Chris Borland has been named NFC Defensive Player of the Week. The award comes in the wake of a 13 tackle, two interception, three pass deflection performance in the 49ers win over the New York Giants. Borland is also nominated for a Rookie of the Week award, but I think he'll happily take this one! He is the first 49ers rookie to win a defensive player of the week award since Andre Carter. You can still vote for Rookie of the Week. Mike Evans is also nominated, and was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week, so this should be interesting.
Borland has come out of the gates absolutely on fire. With only 4.5 games under his belt, he already leads the team in tackles, and has generally been as big a disruptive force as anybody on the roster. Over at Pro Football Focus, Sam Monson took some time to break down his play, and is fairly effusive in his praise. Monson says Borland reminds him of Luke Kuechly, and actually goes so far as to say he thinks Borland could end up a better player. I think it's worth holding off on going that far after only 4.5 games, but Borland is clearly looking good thus far.
The 49ers have NaVorro Bowman in his practice window, but it remains to be seen if they will activate him by the time the 21-day window closes. The 49ers are getting great play from Borland and Michael Wilhoite, which allows them to be a bit more conservative. Wilhoite has struggled at times in coverage, but has also shown he can handle it at times. Coverage is the only real area of inconsistency. The good news is that the return of Aldon Smith could mean less blitzing, and thus more four man fronts on passing downs. This adds extra bodies in coverage to help Borland and Wilhoite. That's a good thing.