Can Jack Sanborn be a Capable Replacement for Roquan Smith?

As The Bears steadily approach the start of the 2022 football season, there are many questions surrounding their roster. Who are the starting tackles, who starts at cornerback opposite of Jaylon Johnson, and of course, who is going to replace Roquan Smith at linebacker if he ends up leaving The Bears? While there are some candidates on the roster and in free agency who are intriguing, an undrafted free agent by the name of Jack Sanborn might be a viable option to take over the helms of the defense.

This might sound like the gun is being jumped here, but as The Bears are entering a rebuilding year, why not try out a young, hard-working player like Sanborn? Even though Sanborn has only debuted in one preseason game, to say he impressed is an understatement. In his first-ever NFL game, Sanborn recorded one interception and seven solo tackles. As an undrafted rookie, most players hardly ever really make an impact during preseason games. Sanborn however, had the best game out of any player who played defense that game. Even though it was only against third and fourth stringers, Sanborn made himself known to fans and coaches after his stellar performance.

Now the question arises, can Sanborn become a starter, or more importantly, can he fill Roquan Smith’s role in this Bears defense? Even though Sanborn has only played in one preseason game, he makes a strong case for himself to become a starter in this defense. After he was signed by The Bears, he made waves in training camp and practices among coaches and players. He possesses a very good IQ of the game, as well as his excellence in tackling and especially pass coverage. All of those traits are the most defining traits of star linebacker Roquan Smith. No other linebacker on The Bears roster possesses the same traits as Sanborn and Smith do, which is why Sanborn is the most qualified to take over Smith’s job IF he is traded away amid his contract crisis.

All of this is hypothetical of course, as Smith is still on the roster and he hasn’t been traded by The Bears and probably won’t be traded anytime soon. But, even with Smith on the roster, Sanborn can still compete for a starting job alongside Smith. Who knows, if Sanborn ends up panning out in the NFL, they can create the Bears best linebacking duo since Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher.
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