The 49ers acquired this third round pick at No.77 overall when trading down in the 2013 NFL Draft with the Carolina Panthers. Borland is a part of the return package for Alex Smith including Tank Carradine, Carlos Hyde, a draft pick to trade up for Corey Lemonier and a future fourth-round draft pick in 2015.
Borland is seen as an undersized linebacker who has short hands, but he was productive in college while at Wisconsin. He has a high football intelligence and the 49ers feel he can be useful as a rotational inside linebacker as well as on special teams.
"[Borland is] a very productive football player," Harbaugh said. "[We're] very, very excited about Chris. Some of the plays that he makes, the instincts that he has. The way he sees the game, the way he studies the game. You know he studies it because he’s already moving in directions that a person can only be moving that quickly because they had a tip, or they had a study, a film or something that the coaches had given them. And that really shows up in the tape. Fifteen forced fumbles, helmets knocked loose. He’s got a way. He’s got great hands. The way he tackles, 250 pounds. To me, my visual of it is like a bowling ball hitting pins. He’s got that kind of strike.”
Borland will compete with Michael Wilhoite for the fill-in inside linebacker role in absence of NaVorro Bowman, who suffered a torn ACL last January. While he doesn't have the greatest athleticism, he has the instincts to make plays where his production can be cited. He should also have a role on special teams for 2014.