The Washington Times - January 21, 2014, 09:43PM

MOBILE, Ala. – After making more than 400 tackles while working with four different linebackers coaches during five years at Wisconsin, it’s clear Chris Borland knows how to play the position.

What’s not clear is exactly where Borland would fit in the NFL.


“I’ve played outside linebacker in a 4-3, I’ve played inside linebacker in a 4-3, and I’ve played inside linebacker in a 3-4,” Borland said. “I think that works to my advantage. Mentally, I can pick it up. Physically, I can play well in the schemes, and I think that helps me.”

Borland was named the Big Ten defensive player of the year after this season, when he had a team-high 112 tackles, including 8.5 for a loss and four sacks. He also forced two fumbles, setting a conference record with 15 forced fumbles in his career.

The Badgers shifted to a 3-4 defense this season under first-year coach Gary Andersen and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, marking the first time Borland would play inside linebacker in such a scheme. He was a middle linebacker in a 4-3 the previous two years and a strongside linebacker during his first two – including in 2010, when he missed all but three games because of a torn labrum in his left shoulder and was granted a medical redshirt.

“This past year was a big transition, but I put in a lot of film work,” Borland said. “For the first time in my career, I’d played in different systems, but it was a big change in what you were doing with the scheme, physically. I just had to put in a lot of work, and I’m better for it.”

Borland, ranked by as a three-star linebacker coming out of high school, is currently projected to go in the third round by several mock drafts. At 5-foot-11 and 245 pounds, his size is an early concern, though 5-foot-10, 242-pound London Fletcher constantly battled that stereotype during his 16 years in the NFL, including the last seven with the Washington Redskins.

With Fletcher and fellow starting inside linebacker Perry Riley set to become free agents when the league year begins in March – and Fletcher announced last month he will likely retire – the could be in the market for a run-stopping, versatile middle linebacker, especially one with experience playing in their 3-4 scheme.

The Redskins have plenty of needs, especially on defense, and their approach at inside linebacker will depend significantly on their decisions in free agency.

Borland has said he hasn’t had to sell himself to the team representatives he’s spoken to this week at the Senior Bowl. His versatility speaks for itself.

“As far as the draft process, I don’t care when I get picked up,” Borland said. “Obviously, the sooner the better. But I’m confident I can make a team, and I hope to be a contributing member of that team right away. [I don’t want to] just make a roster, but make a roster better.”