CHICAGO (BVM) — With so many questions and concerns surrounding the Chicago Bears as the 2022 NFL season gets underway, Jack Sanborn did his best to be a positive for the squad on Saturday in the team’s first preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Playing against his old Badgers’ teammate Leo Chenal, who was selected by the Chiefs in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Sanborn reminded everyone what he is capable of on defense.
Down 14-0 in the third quarter, the former Wisconsin intercepted a Shane Buechele pass at the Kansas City 40. Sanborn was in coverage on Chiefs’ tight end Jordan Franks when he jumped the pass. The interception set up Chicago with great field position and quarterback Trevor Siemian took advantage, leading the Bears 27 yards to get on the scoreboard.
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Now down 14-6, Sanborn followed up the INT by recovering a forced fumble at the Chiefs 20-yard line. This once again set up another Chicago touchdown.
Sanborn came to the Bears as an undrafted free agent but was always a name to pay attention to no matter where he ended up.
At Wisconsin, Sanborn was a leader on one of the best defenses in the nation each year he was in Madison.
“Being able to play alongside Chris Orr, Zach Baun, Jack Sanborn, those guys are legendary at Wisconsin,” Chenal said about his Wisconsin teammates prior to the draft.
Getting the starting spot for the Badgers as a sophomore and playing as a true freshman, Sanborn played 45 games and started 34. During those games he accumulated 230 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, four interceptions and seven pass breakups. An All-Big Ten first team linebacker, he was a fan favorite and a leader on the Badgers defense.
“Chris Orr, Jack Sanborn and Mike Maskalunas in one room,” Chenal said about learning a lot from the other guys in the linebacker room with him. “I was really lucky.”
He was a four-star recruit out of Lake Zurich High School and fit the mold perfectly of what Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonard wants in a middle linebacker. Sanborn is fast, great at the line of scrimmage and a terrific blitzer.
Although he went undrafted, in large part due to a poor combine, Sanborn fits perfectly in Chicago. He is currently second string on the Bears depth chart but with the drama around Roquan Smith and his trade request, the chance for Sanborn to move up on the depth chart is improving.
Sanborn finished with seven solo tackles, one tackles for loss, one pass defended, one interception and one fumble recovery. The Bears defense held the Chiefs scoreless in the second half to win 19-14. Sanborn was all over the field on defense and that’s a positive for a Chicago team that needs more output from their linebackers this season.