2014 Senior Bowl Interviews: LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Interview with Chris Borland – ILB – (Wisconsin) during Senior Bowl Practice & Game:
On what he thinks are his top qualities that he will bring to an NFL team
I think one would be intangibles. I’ve been a leader at Wisconsin and I think I can lead at the next level. And two would be great linebacker play. I think I play the game the right way. I’m physical and intense and fundamentally sound.
On what he really wants to showcase to scouts during Senior Bowl week
I want to prove how good of an athlete I am. I think that there is a perception that I may have tight hips or not have a lot of speed or quickness. But that’s not right – I do and I’m excited to show it this week.
On what it means to be part of that great Wisconsin tradition that has produced a lot of NFL players
It means a lot. I’m especially proud of Wisconsin because we’ve done it the right way. We’ve got a lot of guys traditionally who have a great amount of class, do all the things right off the field, and do well in the classroom. To be a part of that, along with all the success we had on the field, it means a lot to me.
On the advice he has received from any former Wisconsin players who have gone on to the NFL
I talked to Brady Ewing a lot about this process. He played at the Senior Bowl. He just told me to stay true to myself and tell the NFL your story and work hard. It’s a chance to show not only what you have, but to grow. I want to use this process as having a leg up on guys who weren’t here.
On who was the toughest running back that he ever had to tackle
I think Le‘Veon Bell. He was a great player for Michigan State – hard to bring down, elusive and big. As far as our team goes … a bunch of them! James White’s year with us, Melvin Gordon, Montee Ball, John Clay – all pretty tough to bring down. For different reasons, but all very good players.
On who was the toughest quarterback to read
This is a throwback, but Mike Kafka from Northwestern. He kinda carved us up in 2009. He played with the Eagles for a little bit. A really smart kid. He was able to look you off which not a lot of guys can do effectively at the college level. He was pretty impressive. I was only a freshman, so I probably thought he was better than he really was, but I came away impressed by him.
On what he felt was the highlight of his Wisconsin career
I think winning the first Big Ten Championship Game. It was a chance to avenge a loss on a Hail Mary to Michigan State. It was the first game of its kind. It was a culmination of a great year and that moment sticks out.
On the possibility that he may have to serve as a back-up in his rookie season and how he would approach transitioning from a top college player to a back-up role if that is how it turns out
Well, I think I will excel on special teams, one. And then two, I’ll prepare like a starter and carry myself like a starter, because you’re one eyelash from playing any given moment. I think probably my preparation.
On the fact that he led the North Team with 8 tackles in the game and whether it seemed to come easy for him
Yeah, the offenses in this game are so simplified you can understand what they were trying to get accomplished. It was really easy to read and react to such a simple offense.
On his comment earlier in the week that he wanted to show teams that he was athletic enough to play at the next level and whether he felt like he accomplished that throughout the week and in the game
I did. This week I had a couple of picks and that was important for me to show well in pass coverage. Today, I had a good first half and then was a little tight so called it a day at halftime.
On the fact that NFL game seems to be changing with the bigger, quicker tight ends and whether he feels that he can match up with them and still be the solid run defender
It’s absolutely a challenge, but I think that I am as versatile as any player here. I think I can do it all. There’s no glaring deficiency. I want to improve in all areas still, but I think I can do it all.
On who was the toughest tight end he ever had to cover
We had a lot of guys at Wisconsin. Lance Kendricks with the Rams, Garret Graham who is in Houston and Jacob Pedersen who is here today. All three of those guys are similar – very difficult to cover.
On whether there was one thing that he felt like he wasn’t able to fully showcase to NFL teams at the Senior Bowl
In such a short week with new guys, there’s no adversity. I’m a leader. I was voted a captain by the guys for this game, but you don’t get a chance to really show that. Bringing a team back from trials is something that I’ve done in the past. I feel like I’m a good leader. Even though it was recognized, I didn’t have a chance to show it this week.
On whether there was anything in particular he wanted to prove through his play in the Senior Bowl game itself
Just to show that I’m a competitor. That’s what it boils down to. All these measurables, and 40’s, and running. It’s all – are you competitive or not? You know, when the game is going to get tough and it’s going to be nitty and gritty, you want guys who are competitive.
On the topic of running the 40 and whether he feels that he needs to hit a certain target time or will his game tape speak for itself
I’ll have to run a good time, which I think I will. I’ve got two weeks to prepare, so yeah, I think it will help my case if I did.