Posts Tagged ‘Chris Borland’

2014 NFL Draft Positional Breakdowns: Inside Linebackers

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Alabama’s C.J. Mosley is the only first-round prospect in this year’s draft class of inside linebackers. (Photo: Chuck Cook — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

The 2014 draft class of inside linebackers looks to be about par for the course. A variety of skill sets with an overall lack of quality at the bottom of the rankings is what I have come to expect from the position, and this year appears to be no different.

Alabama’s C.J. Mosley is far and away the premier talent of this group and will be on everyone’s early list for 2014 defensive rookie of the year. Depending on what teams are looking for, players with starter upside could be had throughout the first four rounds.

An average of 11 inside linebackers have been drafted each year over the past five drafts. I have graded 16 prospects as draftable this year.

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2014 Buffalo Bills Draft Projections: “3 for 3″ Post-Free Agency Mock

Friday, April 11th, 2014

If the Bills have a shot to draft Jake Matthews with the No. 9 overall pick, they shouldn’t pass it up. (Photo: Thomas Campbell — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

Though it took a little longer than the first installment of the series, the second edition of Pro Football Focus’ “3 For 3” mock draft series recently took place over the course of a couple weeks. Like the first mock, which was held just following the NFL Scouting Combine in early March, I continued to act as the drafter in charge of the Buffalo Bills.

There was no need to do anything different with the No. 9 overall pick, as a player who fills one of Buffalo’s biggest needs—and just might be the best all-around player in the draft—was still available as a right tackle upgrade.

On Day 2, the Bills were forced to change course. While BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy and Stanford guard David Yankey might have been the selections once again as they represent great values in the draft’s second and third rounds, both were rightfully selected earlier this time around.

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2014 NFL Draft: 10 Prospects Whose Tape is Better Than Their Tools

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Chris Borland isn’t the biggest or fastest linebacker, but he makes plays every time he is on the football field. (Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

In an ideal world, every prospect would have the prototypical size and athletic ability that scouts envision to play a given position, but that is far from the case. Despite that, every year rookies who didn’t check an important box still succeed at the professional level. Whether it’s Anquan Boldin and his 4.72-second 40-yard dash dominating at wide receiver, or London Fletcher playing linebacker at a high level for 16 seasons at a height of 5’10″, limited physical traits do not preclude a player from NFL success.

The 2014 NFL draft class has several players who perform well on tape but lack the desired physical tools for their positions.

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2014 Senior Bowl: Saturday Standouts and Disappointments

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

While Logan Thomas and the other quarterbacks struggled in Saturday’s Senior Bowl, Auburn pass-rusher Dee Ford teed off on the North squad. (Photo: Derick E. Hingle — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

Though the 2014 NFL Draft is still more than three months away, Saturday’s Senior Bowl was the last opportunity to watch any top prospects take the field in a fully-padded, 60-minute football game.

The game itself was only one part of the evaluation process that took place this week in Mobile, Ala., and the Senior Bowl itself is just a small part of each participating player’s evaluation. Still, the game gave each prospect playing in it a chance to stand out.

A strong performance Saturday meant little to any prospect who didn’t show the same ability in actual college football games and in Senior Bowl practices earlier this week. A few players, however, further proved their ability from strong collegiate careers and standout practices by making big plays on gameday.

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2014 Senior Bowl Ask the Players: Why Should an NFL Team Draft You?

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas confidently believes he is one of the 2014 NFL draft’s best quarterbacks. (Photo: John David Mercer — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

Though some might be projected to be selected much higher than others, every player who has participated in this week’s Senior Bowl has a legitimate chance to be selected in the 2014 NFL Draft.

For a prospect to convince an NFL team that he is worth drafting, the process starts with on-field performance, including this week’s practice sessions and Saturday’s game for the top seniors in Mobile, Ala. this week. That process extends to the interview room, however, where players have an opportunity to persuade teams that they have not only the on-field skills, but also the character and intelligence, professional football teams expect.

While I had the opportunity to watch all of the Senior Bowl participants during practices at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and Fairhope Municipal Stadium this week, I also interviewed more than 20 prospects to get a closer look at each of them beyond their tape and the skills they displayed in practices.

“If I were representing an NFL team, what would you say to convince me ‘This is why you should draft (player name)?’”

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