In a recent four-round mock draft from Pro Football Network, Jack Sanborn is the only member of the Wisconsin Football team that is selected.
It’s only mid-July, the NFL and college football seasons still have to be played, so obviously, a lot is going to change. Both for NFL teams and the college prospects who hope to hear their names called next April.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to take a look ahead at some 2021 NFL Mock Drafts, and the latest is a four-round mock from Nick Farabaugh of Pro Football Network. Since the 2015 NFL Draft, the Wisconsin Football program has had 20 of their players selected, 11 of which were within the first four rounds.
However, in Farabaugh’s mock, only one Badger is taken in the first 127 picks, and it is linebacker Jack Sanborn, who heads to Cleveland in the third round and as the 92nd pick overall.
While we don’t know how the 2020 season for the Browns and their linebacker unit is going to play out, this could be an ideal situation for Sanborn to step in and see some early playing time. This past offseason, Cleveland would lose Christian Kirksey and former Badger Joe Schobert to free agency, which leaves them with a lot of question marks at the position.
In 2018, Sanborn saw limited action, appearing in 11 games and totaling seven tackles, with a forced fumble and a pass breakup. But it was this past season where he would break out alongside of Chris Orr and Zack Baun. Both of which are now in the NFL.
Sanborn would lead the team in tackles with 80, and this includes nine for a loss. He would also come away with three interceptions, which was tied for first on the team, along with 5.5 sacks, two quarterback hits, and three pass breakups.
Last season, Sanborn emerged as one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten Conference with his sure-tackling, his effectiveness against the run, and flashing his ability to drop into coverage as well. He was truly all over the place, and as a result, Pro Football Focus has named him the fifth-best draft-eligible linebacker entering the 2020 season;
“There’s a clear delineation between the top four linebackers in this class and the next, but Sanborn proved no slouch in his first season as a starter in 2018. The sophomore earned an 83.7 coverage grade with three picks, three pass breakups and a 37.4 passer rating allowed in his coverage. He’s still undersized at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, though, and he needs to add some explosiveness to his game.”
On The Draft Network’s top prospect rankings, Sanborn clocked in at No. 62, and here are a few quick takeaways from Kyle Crabbs in his initial scouting report on the Badger linebacker:
“Pros(+): Sanborn offers impressive football IQ for a younger talent and was quick to make reads and flow to the football throughout the course of his first season as a starter in 2019. Effective as a tackler, Sanborn is effective as both a downhill fill defender and scraping to work outside the hashes and play horizontally.
Cons (-): There’s a bit of tightness ot 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 that implement a lot of pressure looks and isolate their backers in coverage. He’ll be plenty sufficient in shallow zone on passing downs but not sure I’d endorse leaving him in on an island.”
As a junior, Sanborn is going to be the leader of this Badger linebacker unit in 2020, and if he can take a step forward this season – which I don’t see why he won’t – his draft stock is going to rise among NFL teams and the draft community. Especially if he can continue displaying his effective play against both the run and the pass.
Two other Badgers who could end up being selected within the first four rounds of next year’s draft include tight end, Jake Ferguson, and offensive tackle, Cole Van Lanen. At No. 113 in The Draft Network’s prospect rankings, Ferguson should see more opportunities this season with Jonathan Taylor and Quintez Cephus now in the NFL. While Van Lanen, who is the 138th ranked prospect, can vault himself into the top-100 if he can regain his 2018 form.
But in this mock draft, it is only Sanborn who hears his name called.