I generally come away from San Francisco 49ers drafts pretty excited, but there's always at least one player drafted in the top four rounds that ends up being a question mark for me. That usually means I either don't know a whole lot about the player (this happens a lot with the 49ers) or I'm just not sold on him.
This year, that player is Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland. He was taken in the third round and, truthfully, he wasn't anywhere on my radar. Of course, my radar isn't a strong measure of talent, as said radar includes significantly less information about any given player than the entirety of the 49ers' scouting department.
But I still have my opinions. And that opinion is that Borland is under-sized and not an especially strong fit in the 49ers' defense. I liked Shayne Skov a lot better and what do you know, they both ended up in San Francsco ... one as a third-round pick and the other as an undrafted free agent. Funny how that works.
That said, to me, the rest of the draft was really solid. I liked most of the other picks, and though I'm still worried about San Francisco's tendency to draft injured players, this is one of my favorite drafts in awhile. Many have agreed, giving San Francisco high marks for the draft as a whole.
But not everyone is a huge fan of the Borland pick, either. SB Nation's own Matthew Fairburn published his "all over-drafted team" on Monday and as soon as I clicked on it I just knew Borland was going to represent the 49ers. I did think that maybe he would have thought Jimmie Ward was a reach, but I didn't give Fairburn enough credit with that one.
No, he listed Borland, and this is what he had to say:
While the third round wasn't a terrible spot for Chris Borland to come off the board, especially given how many draft picks the 49ers had, it still felt a bit early for an undersized linebacker like Borland. Throughout the pre-draft process, I wasn't quite as high on Borland as most, so I figured he belonged in this spot. In a few years, we'll find out if Borland was worth the pick.
Borland's potential to see the field in a few years is low, at least with the 49ers. If everything goes according to plan, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman will still be in San Francisco, and both will be healthy. That leaves Borland's future prospects as a special teamer and a backup. However, he should have some opportunities to show what he can do while Bowman is injured this season and hey, maybe he'll be excellent.
Just thought it was interesting. What do you guys think?