LB Jack Sanborn, Wisconsin

6’2” – 236 lbs.

Background:

Made seven tackles as a freshman reserve, then stepped into the starting lineup the following season, posting 80-9.0-5.5 with three interceptions. Totaled 52-4.0-1.0 over seven games in the shortened 2020 season, then went 89-16.0-5.0 this past year to conclude his career.

Positives:

Productive three-year starter for a major program; played the weak inside linebacker position next to teammate Leo Chenal this past year. Has at least adequate size for most teams, as well as impressive functional strength; plays bigger than he is. Physical, aggressive downhill player; has a throwback temperament that coaches should appreciate. Reads keys quickly and flows well to the ball. Very good contact balance; keeps his shoulders square to the line. Willing to step into the hole and blow up fullbacks. Reliable wrap tackler who brings thudding power; helps set a physical tone defensively. Takes pretty efficient angles in pursuit. Was an effective pass rusher in college. Times his blitzes well and looks fast closing as an A-gap rusher. Stays light on his feet in coverage, with solid knee bend and good balance. Shows patience and doesn’t take many false steps in zone; knows when to break on an underneath route, with pretty smooth transitions.

Negatives:

Stronger than he is big and frame may be close to maxed out. A little bit on the stiff side, with closer to average short-area quickness. Doesn’t have a ton of range; might need to play between the tackles. Doesn’t appear to have the widest tackling radius; can’t cleanly line up some ballcarriers on stretch runs and tosses. Could be more consistent about engaging with his arms; relies on his body to overpower blockers and doesn’t have great length to lock out. Coverage responsibilities were mostly limited to shallow zones; may not be big enough to match up against tight ends in man coverage or fast enough to stick with receivers. Probably limited to middle/inside linebacker roles.

Summary:

An old-school inside linebacker who brings an impressive level of physicality to the position, playing with solid instincts and impressive strength/physicality when defending the run between the tackles or rushing the passer. Doesn’t have ideal size, length, or athleticism, with somewhat limited range that may cause teams to take him off the field in some passing situations despite clean fundamentals when working in zone. Nonetheless, is a likable prospect who should be able to carve out a role defensively, probably for an odd front.

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