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Borland, other linebackers could help in '14

Wed, May 28, 2014

In an effort to wrap up the 2014 edition of the Reese’s Senior Bowl, Executive Director Phil Savage has put together his “official” review of this year’s draft class on a position-by-position basis. With 20 years of National Football League experience as a coach, scout, personnel director and general manager, his comments will communicate a professional feel to the discussion of these prospects and their quest to make an impact in the NFL.


31 of 32 NFL organizations selected at least one Reese's Senior Bowl prospect this year with a total of 84 being chosen over the draft weekend. Here is a breakdown of each round and the number of prospects selected:           

1 7 7 of 32 22%
2 11 18 of 64 28%
3 19 37 of 100 37%
4 18 55 of 140 39%
5 13 69 of 175 39%
6 9 77 of 215 36%
7 7 84 of 256 33%

11 of the 15 linebackers that participated in Mobile were selected in the NFL Draft with the remaining four signed as free agents.

 Highest Selected                                                              

The Philadelphia Eagles surprised some with their 1st round selection of Louisville’s Marcus Smith at #26. He was the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and brings three-down versatility as an outside linebacker and situational pass rusher to the Eagles. An ideal fit for their 3-4 scheme, Marcus is a prospect who has a high ceiling in the NFL.

 Senior Bowl Bump                                                           

Iowa’s Christian Kirksey maximized his opportunity in Mobile and ended up being the 3rd round pick (#71 overall) by the Cleveland Browns. He should be able to contribute as a rookie in their Sub packages and on special teams because of his speed and athleticism in space.

 Immediate Help                                                               

When the San Francisco 49ers move away from their Height-Weight-Speed standards, they always grab “football players” and Wisconsin’s Chris Borland meets that definition. With Navarro Bowman sidelined with the knee injury suffered in last year’s playoffs, Borland could possibly see significant play time next to Patrick Willis during his rookie campaign

 Best Value                                                                       

With their 5th round pick (#171 overall), the Miami Dolphins chose Montana’s Jordie Tripp. He has three-position versatility and is capable of being a prominent special teams player as a rookie. If the veterans in front of him do not produce this year, he may very well challenge for a starting job in 2015.


Missouri’s Michael Sam will be covered more than any other rookie prospect not named Johnny Manziel this season. He took reps as an OLB in Mobile, but for the St. Louis Rams, who made him their 7th round pick (#249 overall), he will fight for a roster spot as a defensive end.

Others of Note                                                                 

Six more linebackers were selected over the draft weekend, including Kyle Van Noy/Lions, Trent Murphy/Redskins, Jeremiah Attaochu/Chargers, Telvin Smith/Jaguars, Lamin Barrow/Broncos and Jordan Zumwalt/Steelers. Four more LBer prospects were signed as free agents: Justin Anderson/NY Giants, Jonathan Brown/Cardinals, Adrian Hubbard/Packers and Christian Jones/Bears.