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Chris Borland gets one vote in Defensive Rookie of the Year balloting

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The San Francisco 49ers had a down year, but Chris Borland showed some big things. He was sort of recognized for that, getting one vote for defensive rookie of the year.

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Honors show is presenting the various annual awards, and St. Louis Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald took home defensive rookie of the year. The final balloting actually saw San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland receive one vote. C.J. Mosley finished second with 18 votes, and Khalil Mack finished third with six votes.

Borland never really had a chance at winning the award given the limited amount of time he played, but I can see how someone could justify a vote. Borland effectively "started" in seven full games, if you factor in the second half of the 49ers loss to Denver, and the first half of their road loss to Seattle. Although he could not accumulate the necessary season-long stats, a voter might have decided he showed enough that he was the best player during that stretch. I don't know this for certain, but I am trying to think of the logic behind the vote.

Whatever the case, it's cool to see him get some recognition for what was a great rookie year. We don't really know what 2015 holds for his spot in the lineup given the potential returns of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. But thankfully the 49ers have him available, even if it is in a backup role. I suspect we end up seeing him play a decent amount of football, even if Bowman and Willis are fine for Week 1, but we'll see.

If Bowman and/or Willis cannot play in Week 1, Borland would likely move into the starting lineup. But if both are healthy, how do you think they use Borland? Matt Maiocco seemed to confirm the team will stick with the 3-4 next season, so how does Borland get used if Willis and Bowman are healthy?

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