Jack Sanborn NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for Wisconsin LB

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor I

PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 06:  Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Jack Sanborn (57) during the second quarter of the college football game between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Wisconsin Badgers on November 6, 2021 at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, NJ.  (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

HEIGHT: 6'1 5/8"


HAND: 9 5/8"

ARM: 30 1/2"

WINGSPAN: 6'2 1/8"

40-YARD DASH: 4.73




BROAD: 9'6"


— Above-average lateral movement. Quick feet and moves across the line of scrimmage well.

— Comfortable working tight to the line of scrimmage and navigating clutter.

— Very good at avoiding blocks. Has quick feet and a violent hand swipe.

— Functional play strength. Not a bully, but he holds his own.

— Very good eyes and trigger. Knows when to be patient or play fast downhill.

— Flashes of zone coverage ability. Plays well off the eyes of the QB.

— Above-average blitzer. Wisconsin sent him a ton.


— Not an explosive athlete. Can lack juice when changing directions or initiating contact.

— Speed is uninspiring. Functional, but nothing more.

— Rarely tested in coverage, particularly man coverage. May not have the speed or comfort for it.

— Sometimes tries to backdoor blocks and ends up taking himself out of the play.

— Not a particularly strong tackler.


13 G, 91 TOT, 16 TFL 5 SK, 1 FR


— Three-year starter.

— 4-star recruit in 2018.


Jack Sanborn is a classic Wisconsin prospect: It's clear he knows how to play ball, but the athletic tools put his ceiling in question. A three-year starter, Sanborn played both "Mike" and "Will" for the Badgers, depending on the game plan. Sanborn was trusted with a number of different assignments against the run, though on passing downs, he was often deployed as a blitzer, potentially to hide his middling speed from coverage responsibilities.

Against the run, Sanborn checks almost every box. He plays with functional strength, showcasing enough anchor to hold his own against blocks. He more often prefers to beat blocks with hand fighting and quickness, which he excels at. He has a great sense for where he can bend and move to beat blocks. Sanborn will backdoor a block and end up behind the play on occasion, but it is not a detrimental issue. The most impressive aspect of his run defense is how consistently he reads and reacts effectively, whether that means triggering downhill to spill a pulling block or flowing over the top of a messy pile to clean things up.

Sanborn's limiting factors come down to athleticism. His speed is fine, but nothing more. There is also little explosiveness to his game, which sometimes hurts him when changing directions in space or when trying to knock back bigger blockers. All those limitations may also be why the Badgers preferred him as a blitzer rather than a coverage piece.

Overall, Sanborn brings a high floor to the position. He understands his keys well and does a great job remaining one step ahead of the play. His athletic tools may hold him back from being a true impact player, but he can be a competent backup right away while trying to further hone his craft in order to become a legit starter.

GRADE: 6.4 (High-level developmental prospect - 5th Round)




Written by B/R NFL Scout Derrik Klassen