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49ers LB Chris Borland to ‘Fight’ for Starting Spot

Posted Jul 3, 2014

The San Francisco 49ers third-round draft pick looks forward to competing with Michael Wilhoite for the right to start next to Patrick Willis at inside linebacker.

Chris Borland has been impressive so far with the San Francisco 49ers.

A Wisconsin product selected two months ago as a third-round draft pick, proved to be athletic when dropping back into coverage to routinely break up passes in OTA and minicamp sessions.

Borland's ascending play bodes well for his chances of dethroning Michael Wilhoite as the team's Week 1 starter at inside linebacker. Borland acknowledged that the veteran has the upper hand in the competition to fill in for All-Pro NaVorro Bowman, but that doesn't mean the rookie isn't going to try his hardest to change the minds of the 49ers coaching staff.

"I think it’s his spot right now, but I’m going to fight for it,” Borland told the Wisconsin State Journal. “That’s the story of the NFL, everyone fights to get on top and once you’re there, you fight to stay there. Hopefully, I can earn that position. I’ll do everything in my power, but you can’t change anything you’ve ever done. Just stick to the formula and hope it works out.”

As a 5-foot-11, 248-pound linebacker, Borland doesn't have the same stature as other 'backers on San Francisco's roster. However, the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year has the play-making ability to disrupt offensive production. Borland's activity in the offseason proved he can be a factor. Now it's a matter of seeing how his skills translate once the pads come on in training camp.

Borland said he's in the best place to showcase those talents.

"The Niners have been to three straight (NFC) Championship Games, won Super Bowls, it’s a successful organization,” the rookie said. “They care about winning. Coach Harbaugh is a great leader. I’m really fortunate.”

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