Did Chicago Bears LB Jack Sanborn do enough to start next year?

Chicago Bears - Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bears placed Jack Sanborn on the IR, which ended his rookie season. While the season was a smashing success for a player who was a UDFA just a few months ago, it was still just six starts. Sanborn showed a lot, but did he show enough in that small sample to make them forget why they and so many teams passed on him so much draft weekend?

Did Chicago Bears find a future starter in Jack Sanborn?

Jack Sanborn obviously exceeded the expectations of many, but he also did play to his draft profile. Many saw him as a run defender who may not have the coverage instincts.

Since week nine, he ranks third in run stops and fourth in run stop rate among linebackers, per PFF. It is fair to add that his average depth of tackle is 4, which is 37th out of 47 qualified linebackers, but a lot of that can come back to his line as well.

Still, in coverage, he ranked 24th out of 50 in PFF grade, 20th out of 50 in forced incompletion rate, and 32nd in yards allowed in coverage. He was above average in run defense, but much closer to average in coverage.

So, the Chicago Bears could be happy with what they saw, but recognize that he is a limited UDFA, and he may have seen more issues come as more time passed. If a better option came around, the team may not show as strong of a commitment as the fans.

At the same time, playing Sanborn over this time was to find out what he was in the chance that he could become a starter. Ryan Poles is in a spot where he has so many holes on the roster, he does not know where to start. However, he does know that he will not start at a linebacker.

The team has to fix the defensive line, offensive line, and wid receiver first. Giving Sanborn that chance meant hoping that they could have a starter slotted in at a UDFA salary for the next couple of seasons, giving them money to sprinkle around elsewhere.

Next. Did this player see his last snap with Chicago?. dark

If the best player available at a certain time in the draft is a linebacker, it may be the choice, and if someone like Shaq Leonard demands a trade to Chicago, they may call, but they should be satisfied in having Sanborn as a starter next year. It checks a need off of the list, and gives them the assets to fix the other holes.