Jack Sanborn

  • LB Badgers
  • Senior
  • #--
  • 6'2"
  • 234lbs
  • Prospect
  • Big Ten

2022 Season









Top Traits

Football IQ

Football IQ

Jack Sanborn

Sanborn offers impressive football IQ, showing situational awareness to attack the football as a tackler or to try to hold up the ball-carrier to make him available for an attempt to strip the ball. He’s fairly diverse and has taken snaps as an end man on the line of scrimmage, mugged up in interior gaps, or as a true stack backer.



Jack Sanborn

Effective as a tackler, Sanborn does well to come to balance and square up ball-carriers in the alley. He also offers an effective tackling radius and has consistency away from his frame to finish plays. Sanborn offers sufficient lateral mobility and range and, for some defenses, could fill the MIKE role at the NFL level from an athletic perspective. Sanborn is even consistent in making tackles while being leaned on and playing through congestion.

Competitive Toughness

Competitive Toughness

Jack Sanborn

I love the juice that Sanborn plays with. He’s high energy and relentless as a pursuit player. He’s capable of jolting climbing blockers and will do well in traffic to squeeze down and ensure tight gap fits. He’s a hard hitter, too—it can be taken for granted at times next to Chenal, but he’s very much a thud hitter in his own right.

Prospect Summary

Wisconsin linebacker Jack Sanborn has been a consistent staple for the Badgers over the past few seasons as a featured defender in Jim Leonhard’s defensive system. Wisconsin touted one of the fiercest, stingiest defenses in the country last season with Sanborn and fellow linebacker Leo Chenal serving in starring roles on the second level as the straws that stirred the drink. Coming from a football family that saw his late father Paul play at Oregon in the 1980s and a younger brother playing with him at Wisconsin, Sanborn has been featured in a blitz-heavy role with the team and helped to dictate the pace of play to opposing teams by having a persistent threat at the line of scrimmage or in the opposing backfield. Sanborn offers a fair level of versatility as compared to his teammate Chenal, too—you see Sanborn scraping and offering sideline challenges and he’s been able to make a modest number of plays on the ball in coverage as well. He doesn’t profile as a dynamic athlete in space or as a bonafide three-down option against NFL competition, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to see a path for him playing as a starter in base personnel in the league.

Ideal role: Early-down MIKE linebacker

Scheme tendencies: Blitz heavy, aggressive defense with quality coverage options in the secondary (including the safeties)


Written by Kyle Crabbs

Games watched: Wake Forest (2020), Penn State (2021), Notre Dame (2021), Michigan (2021), Purdue (2021), Iowa (2021), Northwestern (2021), Minnesota (2021)

Best Game Studied: Wake Forest (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Minnesota (2021)

Tackling: See Above.

Football IQ/Instincts: See Above.

Competitive Toughness: See Above.

Pass Coverage Ability: Sanborn isn’t going to pop or shine in hook/curl coverage drops—there’s going to be a debate about his ability to play all three downs and he’ll need strong athletic testing to help buy-in. I’m not sure a lot of turn and run assignments make sense either, so this is someone who is likely going to need some complementary pieces around him in the linebacker room or have a lot of coverage studs behind him, especially in the safety room to handle tight ends and backs. I will say his anticipation and peripheral vision for feeling routes popped a bit; he’s got a sense for shading throwing windows in the MOF.

Run Defending: He’s really good here. I do admittedly wish that he had just a little bit more juice to claim he’s a sideline-to-sideline MIKE, but he negotiates blocks well, he trusts his juice to make decisions working over or under blocks, and he’s a firm and clean tackler. Sanborn has been highly productive against the run and the Wisconsin defense has put him in a position to succeed with some of their run blitzes and gap exchanges at the snap.

Block Deconstruction: There is good effectiveness to his punch, stun, and block deconstruction from interior OL climbing to influence his scrape. Sanborn has the power to jolt and he’s got enough extension to give me confidence he can get through that initial contact to uncover. Fully capable of slamming the door on a lead blocker and spilling the run if needed.

Lateral Mobility: Sanborn doesn’t have the most sudden transitions. He’s more twitched gearing into contact as compared to physically exploding in short spaces or redirecting to attack small creases and working toward the ball and rapidly closing down distances. That said, I do think he’s fairly smooth when gaining ground to the line of scrimmage and he can provide a modest level of slipperiness.

Flexibility: There’s a bit of tightness to his hips and he’s not the most fluid in his coverage drops—not certain how well he’ll hold up in man-to-man coverage against NFL TEs in a defense that implements a lot of pressure looks and isolates their linebackers in coverage. I think he corners and carries speed through shallow transitions fairly well.

Leadership: Served as team captain for the Badgers and has been a fixture of the defense as a three-year starter. That experience shows with his involvement in pre-snap procedures. He gets high marks from those around the program for his football character and leadership.

Versatility: Sanborn has, at a minimum, shown he’s cerebral and physically competent in all phases of the position. He’s had success in various stretches as a pass defender (three INTs in 2019), as a penetration player (14.5 tackles for loss in 2021), and as a rally defender to the ball (led the team in tackles in both 2019 and 2020). I see no reason to think he can’t be a special teams contributor and I think he’s got a base personnel skill set and the tackling efficiency to be a starting linebacker in the NFL.


TDN Consensus: 73.73/100 (Fourth Round Value)

Crabbs Grade: 74.50/100

Weissman Grade: 73.00/100