The approaching close to the 2014 regular season means end of season awards are starting to be revealed. Over at Sports Illustrated, Doug Farrar put together his all-rookie team. He included one member of the San Francisco 49ers: inside linebacker Chris Borland. Here is what he had to say about Borland:
When the 49ers lost Patrick Willis for the season to a toe injury in November, and failed to get NaVorro Bowman back from the knee injury he suffered in the 2013 NFC Championship Game, the 49ers had to rely on Borland to pick up the slack. The rookie from Wisconsin did so admirably, amassing 107 tackles, a sack and two interceptions before his own season was cut short in mid-December with an ankle injury. More than a tackle magnet in the middle of the field, the third-round pick proved to be a very aware player who seemed to anticipate what was happening around him before it happened.
The 49ers had a sizable contingent of rookies get serious work in. Aside from Borland, the 49ers were able to get some evaluation on defensive back Jimmie Ward, outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, cornerback Dontae Johnson, running back Carlos Hyde and center Marcus Martin. They even worked in guys like tight end Asante Cleveland, offensive lineman Dillon Farrell, wide receiver Bruce Ellington and special teamer L.J. McCray.
It is too soon to say that any of them will be a bust, and really it's too soon to say most of them will be sure-fire big names down the road. However, we saw a lot of good things from guys like Borland, Lynch, Johnson, Hyde, Martin and Ward. They all showed areas where they need improvement, some more significantly than others. However, after a 2012 draft that could not have gone much worse, and a 2013 draft that has Eric Reid, Quinton Dial and then some questions, it is nice to see Trent Baalke and his crew bounce back with a 2014 draft that is showing some really good signs.