San Francisco 49ers rookie linebacker Chris Borland received a postseason honor this week, as he was voted to the all-rookie team by the Pro Football Writers of America. Borland was the only member of the 49ers to appear on the all-rookie team. Odell Beckham Jr. was named Offensive Rookie of the Year and overall Rookie of the Year, and Aaron Donald was named Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Borland was active for 14 games before an ankle injury cost him the final two games. Although active the full season leading up to the injury, he did not move into the starting lineup until Week 6. Patrick Willis aggravated a toe injury and Borland replaced him in the second half. Borland finished the season with a team-leading 128 total tackles (per the 49ers; ESPN lists him with 107), including eight for a loss. He also had a sack, two interceptions, five pass deflections and a fumble recovery.
The 49ers will have some decisions to make with regard to Borland and their linebacker corps in 2015. If Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman are healthy when next season rolls around, it will be interesting to see how the new coaching staff uses Borland. It is hard to make any kinds of predictions in part because we don't know what kind of overhaul we will see with the coaching staff. It is the primary reason we can't do roster projections in general. We just don't know what the next coaching staff will bring to the table.
The PFWA writers voted for three linebackers and four defensive linemen. Aaron Lynch put together a solid rookie season, but even with six sacks, it is not surprising he did not get a spot ahead of Borland, Khalil Mack or C.J. Mosley. Lynch got more playing time than might have been expected given Aldon Smith's suspension. However, the 49ers were also content giving Dan Skuta plenty of opportunities as well, and Skuta worked out well. The 49ers have to figure out the future of Ahmad Brooks, and then if they want to try and bring back Skuta.
And of course, we'll get the next round of the ACL All Stars back in 2015. CB Kenneth Acker, CB Keith Reaser, OG Brandon Thomas, FB Trey Millard and DL Kaleb Ramsey all will hopefully be back in action when the offseason workout program gets going in April, or at least in time for the start of training camp in July. There will be plenty of opportunities to go around.
Here is the full team:
Rookie of the Year: WR Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
Offensive Rookie of the Year: WR Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants
Defensive Rookie of the Year: DT Aaron Donald, St. Louis Rams
QB - Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
RB - Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals; Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams
WR - Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants; Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TE - Jace Amaro, New York Jets
C - Corey Linsley, Green Bay Packers
G - Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns; Zach Martin, Dallas Cowboys
T - Taylor Lewan, Tennessee Titans; Ja'Wuan James, Miami Dolphins
DL - Aaron Donald, St. Louis Rams; Timmy Jernigan, Baltimore Ravens; Kony Ealy, Carolina Panthers; Justin Ellis, Oakland Raiders
LB - Chris Borland, San Francisco 49ers; Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders; C.J. Mosley, Baltimore Ravens
CB - Kyle Fuller, Chicago Bears; E.J. Gaines, St. Louis Rams
S - Deone Bucannon, Arizona Cardinals; Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay Packers
PK - Cody Parkey, Philadelphia Eagles
P - Pat O'Donnell, Chicago Bears
KR - Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
PR - De'Anthony Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs
ST - Trey Burton, Philadelphia Eagles