15 Most Impactful Bears of 2022: No. 8 Jack Sanborn

The Chicago Bears wrapped their 2022 season, where they finished 3-14 and lost their final 10 games of the year. But the future is bright heading into this 2023 offseason, as GM Ryan Poles has the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, a boatload of salary cap space ($118 million) and a franchise quarterback in Justin Fields.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be counting down our 15 Most Impactful Bears for the 2022 season. We’ll recap their 2022 season and look ahead to how they factor into 2023.

At No. 8 is linebacker Jack Sanborn, a player no one expected to be as impactful as he was when the year began, but quickly became a key member on defense.

Background

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 30: Tony Pollard #20 of the Dallas Cowboys is tackled by Jack Sanborn #57 of the Chicago Bears during the second half at AT&T Stadium on October 30, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Position: Linebacker

Age: 22

Experience: 1st year

2022 cap hit: $661,667

2022 stats

AP Photo/Stephen Brashear

  • 64 combined tackles (5 for loss)

  • 2 sacks

  • 3 QB hits

  • 1 fumble recovered

2022 recap

Nov 27, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets running back Michael Carter (32) is tackled by Chicago Bears linebacker Jack Sanborn (57) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears signed Sanborn as an undrafted free agent following the 2022 NFL Draft and he didn’t waste time introducing himself to fans. In the team’s first preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sanborn stood out in a big way. He had two takeaways and was all over the field in a performance that helped cement his status on the active roster, but he was just getting started.

Sanborn took on a larger role when Roquan Smith was dealt to the Baltimore Ravens and he didn’t flinch. The rookie out of Wisconsin had seven solo tackles his first start against the Miami Dolphins and followed it up with 12 total tackles and two sacks facing the Detroit Lions a week later. Sanborn played with elite instincts and a tenacity that was hard to match. He had 48 solo tackles in six starts, one of which was cut short due to injury. If that streak was stretched over the course of a season, he would have easily led the league with 136. For his efforts, Sanborn was named to the Pro Football Focus All-Rookie team.

2023 outlook

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – NOVEMBER 13: Jack Sanborn #57 of the Chicago Bears tackles Jared Goff #16 of the Detroit Lions during the second quarter at Soldier Field on November 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Bears have some decisions to make at linebacker with players such as Nicholas Morrow and Matthew Adams set to hit free agency, but Sanborn should be set as a starter moving forward. He’s passed most tests and challenges thrown his way and coaches can’t stop raving about his work ethic and productivity. Still, head coach Matt Eberflus wants to see more from him, particularly when it comes to ball production.

“Sanborn’s been good,” Eberflus said during the team’s bye week via the Chicago Sun Times. “He’s been consistent. When I talk about linebackers, it’s about hits on the ball. Can you affect the ball? Are you tackling? Are you punching the ball? Are you taking the ball away? He’s had a lot of tackles. He’s improved his tackling…His ball production probably needs to improve.”

The Lake Zurich native isn’t a finished product yet, but the Bears see potential for him in the future. Sanborn may not ever become a superstar linebacker, but he has all of the intangibles to become a very good one. 2023 will be a big year to see how far he can go.

15 Most Impactful Bears of 2022

We’re counting down our 15 Most Impactful Bears of 2022. Check back every day.

15. LT Braxton Jones

14. CB Kyler Gordon

13. DT Justin Jones

12. RB David Montgomery

11. RB Khalil Herbert

10. CB Jaylon Johnson

9. TE Cole Kmet

8. LB Jack Sanborn

7. COMING 1/24

6. COMING 1/25

5. COMING 1/26

4. COMING 1/27

3. COMING 1/28

2. COMING 1/29

1. COMING 1/30

Story originally appeared on Bears Wire