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This Chicago Bears UDFA could make a splash in 2022 – Da Windy City

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Being an undrafted free agent in the NFL is a hard job to have. It’s even tougher when you’re a rookie. Often times, you are just a camp body who runs the scout team and has the sole purpose of getting the veterans ready for the season.
At the end of the preseason, most of the UDFA’s are no longer on the roster. However, every couple of years, one of these players will prove their worth, and end up making a roster. In rare cases, some will even have a long and productive career.
Chicago Bears rookie linebacker Jack Sanborn has a shot of becoming one of the good ones. Sanborn was an All-Big Ten first team LB for the Wisconsin Badgers last season. He was so dominant, that later that year, Sanborn was invited to the East-West Shrine bowl.
In his senior year at Wisconsin, Sanborn finished second on the team in tackles with 91 and was 4th in the entire Big Ten in TFL’s with 16. So, how did a player with all of this production and recognition, end up undrafted?
A bad combine performance can often make or break a player’s career before they even get to step foot in the NFL. This is what happened with Jack Sanborn. Sanborn ran an official 4.73 40-yard dash at his combine.
This is well below average for a normal NFL linebacker. Speed is one of the biggest differences between players at the college level and the NFL level, so it makes sense that teams were hesitant to pull the trigger on Sanborn.
Because of this, Sanborn ended up undrafted. However, Sanborn’s hometown Bears took a chance on him minutes after the draft, and it couldn’t have been a better situation for him.
Besides budding superstar Roquan Smith, the Chicago Bears linebacker room has been far from productive. New additions Nicholas Morrow and Joe Thomas should help fill out the roster, but by no means are they penciled into all of the linebacker snaps.
According to the Bears depth chart on ESPN, Sanborn is already the second string SLB. If Sanborn holds onto this role throughout the preseason, it’s very likely that he will make the 53-man roster.
If he does in fact make it past final roster cuts, it’s probable that Sanborn will play more of a special team role out of the gate. A starting job is every player’s goal, but it’s amazing for any rookie UDFA to even be on the field come week one.
Injuries happen to players all around the league, and with Sanborn currently running with the second team, he is only one injury away from earning key LB snaps for one of the NFL’s most historic franchises.
It’s going to be interesting following Sandborn throughout the rest of the offseason, as he is trying to prove himself to one of the NFL’s most respected defensive minds in Matt Eberflus. If Sanborn stays on track, he could be in for an exciting and productive rookie season.
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