While we wait for the regular season to start I want to highlight a player who has really stood out to me is former Wisconsin and UDFA linebacker Jack Sanborn. The 6’2 234lb linebacker grew up in Deer Park, Illinois and attended the university of Wisconsin where he totaled 228 tackles, 29 TFLs, 11.5 sacks, 4 INTs, 3 FFs, and 2 FR in his four seasons with the Badgers.
While in college he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2021 and third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2020. Sanborn played in some huge games throughout his college career like the 2019 Big Ten championship game where he sacked current Bears teammate Justin Fields in a 34-21 loss to the Buckeyes.
Sanborn was a part of four bowl games which include the 35-3 2019 Pinstripe Bowl win over Miami, 28-27 loss against Oregon in the 2020 Rose Bowl, 42-28 win over Wake Forest in the 2020 Duke’s Mayo Bowl, and his final game as a member of the Badgers a 20-13 win over Arizona State in the 2021 Las Vegas bowl.
Sanborn placed his name into the 2022 NFL Draft where he went undrafted and signed with his hometown Chicago Bears. Coming into the start of rookie minicamp and OTAs Sanborn was not expected to be a huge factor on this Chicago Bears defense. Quickly through training camp he made a huge impression on the Bears coaching staff and front office.
As of right now there is no way he does not make the final 53 man roster and will likely get significant playing time this season with the Bears and could break the starting group on the defense at some point this year.
Being a Wisconsin Badgers fan I have had the pleasure of watching him over the last couple of seasons so I am super excited to hopefully see him reach his full potential in the NFL with my favorite team.
We are almost to the regular season so that means we are just under a week until the 53 man roster is finalized. As I have been sitting in my newly finished college dorm I have been thinking of who should make the 53 man roster when the Bears release it early next week. I will also be adding a depth chart as well.
QB: Justin Fields (1)
Trevor Siemian (15)
The QB room is no surprise as Justin will be the week one starter with Siemian serving as his backup. Having a guy with the amount of time in the league as Trevor does should help Justin.
HB: David Montgomery (32)
Khalil Herbert (24)
Trestan Ebner (31)
Darrynton Evans (21)
Montgomery and Herbert are not surprising where they are on the roster/depth chart but Ebner and Evans should be solid depth guys this year who will both likely see a good amount of carries.
FB: Khari Blasingame (35)
For the first time in forever the Bears finally have a FB. Khari is an all around FB who can block, run, and catch.
WR: Darnell Mooney (11)
Velus Jones Jr (12)
Byron Pringle (13)
Nkeal Harry (8)
Equanimeous St. Brown (19)
Dante Pettis (86)
Tajae Sharpe (19)
Isaiah Coulter (82)
By far this was the hardest position group to predict but I decided to go with my eight best of the preseason. Isaiah Coulter was another guy who stood out to me and I expect him to make the full roster this season.
TE: Cole Kmet (85)
James O’Shaughnessy (80)
Ryan Griffin (84)
There really is not too much to talk about regarding the TE group but these three guys have been a lot of fun to watch…Chase Allen could be another one to watch as he also had a good preseason.
OT: Braxton Jones (70)
Larry Borom (75)
Riley Reiff (78)
If you were to ask me at the beginning of camp I would have said Reiff would have been starting with Jones, Boron, and Jenkins competing for the opposite side. Braxton turned the heads of the Bears staff almost immediately once camp started.
IOL: Cody Whitehair (65)
Teven Jenkins (76)
Lucas Patrick (62)
Michael Schofield (64)
Sam Mustipher (67)
DE: Robert Quinn (94)
Trevis Gipson (99)
Dominique Robinson (91)
Al-Quadin Muhammad (55)
The DE position is pretty much locked up in regards of who the starters will be come week 1. Robinson will be super fun to watch develop in the coming seasons after making the switch from WR to DE at Miami (OH).
DT: Mike Pennel Jr (63)
Justin Jones (93)
Angelo Blackson (90)
Micah Dew-Treadway (98)
Khyiris Tonga (95)
Micah was a player I was not too familiar with prior to the first preseason game against the Chiefs with his sack late in the game to seal the win for the Bears.
LB: Roquan Smith (58)
Nicholas Morrow (53)
Matt Adams (44)
Jack Sanborn (57)
Joe Thomas (45)
One player I want to highlight is Jack Sanborn…he went from a guy on the bubble to a guy likely getting significant playing time.
CB: Jaylon Johnson (33)
Kyler Gordon (6)
Tavon Young (25)
Kindle Vildor (22)
Lamar Jackson (23)
Greg Stroman Jr (39)
Sure on paper the CBs look weak but Jaylon Johnson is one of the best young corners in the league and Kyler Gordon is one of the top coming out of college football last season.
We always sit around and talk about our favorite Bears players of all time. Well, our group chat was a bit different on Monday. The topic came up of who our most hated Bears player of all time was. So we grabbed a few notes from our folks and decided to share them with you!
This week at Monsters of the Midwest we will discuss some of our most disliked Bears. Personally, for me, I’d have to go with the one and only Rashaad Coward. After going undrafted in 2017, Coward signed with the Bears as a defensive tackle. However, after his rookie season, Coach Nagy decided it would be a good idea for him to switch to the offensive line. During his two seasons with the Bears, Coward finished with PFF grades of 46.2 and 51.7. Bad right? Well, when you turn on the tape, it gets worse. On tape, you see Coward had many flaws, including panicking, the bad technique in pass protection, recognizing exotic fronts, and slow feet. Obviously, his inexperience at the position played a role, but the willingness of the coaches to play him was confusing. Currently, Coward sees himself competing for a spot with the Cardinals after a short stint with the Steelers in 2021.
There are a lot of hateable dudes in Bears history, but perhaps none more hateable than a certain Christopher Michael Conte. I can’t think of any player in recent history that has been shoved on a fanbase as hard as #47. Everyone…LITERALLY EVERYONE…knew Conte was terrible and hated the guy’s guts, but year-in and year-out we lined this bum up at safety.
Chris Conte was so bad that my college dorm floor created a drinking game centered around his miscues. While I can’t remember the exact rules to the game, it probably says a lot about how awful Chris Conte actually was….there was a LOT of alcohol consumed. To this day, nothing picks me up quite like:
I hope the door didn’t hit him on the hind end too hard on his way out of town.
For now the title of my most hated Chicago Bear has to go to Adam Shaheen. It starts with the opportunity cost of his draft pick at 45th overall in 2017. Other offensive weapons that were picked after him include Cooper Kupp, Alvin Kamara, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. If we’re talking strictly TEs, this pick could have been Jonnu Smith or George Kittle. It was obvious right away that this pick was a reach from a small school. He couldn’t catch. He couldn’t block. He couldn’t say healthy. After three seasons he was shipped to the Dolphins for a late-round pick, just to say we recouped something for him. Final stats in Chicago: 26 receptions, 249 yards, 4 TDs. That’s to say nothing of his off-the-field presence, which can generously be described as “detached from reality”. In a bit of comedy, right now the Dolphins can’t trade him because he can’t pass a physical, but I’m sure he’s done his own research about that. Good riddance.
There has been many Bears that have failed at their job or been disrespectful while being with the organization. For the longest time, my least favorite Chicago Bear was Chris Conte. A guy that blew multiple coverages and blamed it on someone else. Well, that changed in 2018. My least favorite Bear to this day is former kicker Cody Parkey. The guy who double-doinked it in the playoff game against the Eagles. A team that could have gone to the super bowl. Parkey struggled all year but when a big kick was coming, he failed. To make matters worse, Cody went on a national morning show and whined, hoping everyone would feel bad for him. If he would have just gone on his Mary way it would have not been a problem. To go on the today show and make a fool of himself is why he’s number one on my list as my least favorite Bear.
The Roquan Smith saga continues to go on in Chicago and the debates have been endless ever since the star linebacker requested a trade as part of his contract negotiations. So I decided to ask a few of our contributors the simple question, would you sign or trade Roquan Smith?
I would extend him just cause of how he could fit in the system but I would do it at the right price. The most I would do is 5 for 90. Don’t believe you would get back what you want if you trade him. Best for the organization to keep him.
So, the question is whether to extend or trade Roquan Smith. Well, since arriving in Chicago, Roquan has been phenomenal. Constantly putting up all-pro seasons but not getting the respect he deserves. With his contract coming up, he felt this was his time to get the recognition he deserved. Unfortunately for him, he has handled this situation all but wrong. Going and requesting a trade to call out the organization, and “hiring” an agent to seek interest from other teams. By trading Roquan, the Bears would lose a tremendous talent and leader for the start of something great here in Chicago. I don’t think the Bears should or will do this. Despite the drama, I think the Bears extend Roquan at something like 5 years at $100,000,000.
I don’t think the Bears are necessarily the villain here like everyone wants to make them out to be. I think we’d view this situation very differently if the Bears didn’t have such a piss-poor history when it came to retaining top talent.
Ryan Poles has done absolutely everything right (putting Roquan on PUP to avoid fines, etc.) up until Roquan decided to go nuclear with his statement on the ‘Gram the other day. From that point on, Roquan has misplayed this every step of the way. Negotiations are hard, especially when you’re at the center of them. While I think Roquan is a smart kid and absolutely has the brains to navigate the dollars and cents, I think he’s had a hard time taking a step back and not taking the negotiation personal. It’s a very easy trap to fall in when you don’t have an agent filtering what’s said at the negotiating table.
That said, I think it’s in everybody’s best interest for the two sides to come to a deal. To me, that sweet spot is right around the $20 million per year number, falling in-line with what Darius (I guess it’s Shaquille now?) Leonard set the market at.
At the end of the day, I don’t want another draft pick as a consolation prize (ask the Raiders how that turned out for them with the Khalil Mack trade). When you have top talent, you keep them. If you have a young asset that everyone wants, there’s zero sense letting them walk out the door.
With the Roquan Smith saga taking another massive turn today it shows that both sides are farther apart than we thought. It brings up the question what do you do with Roquan? Currently I am in the middle of the argument of whether you resign him or trade him away. Roquan is a top five interior linebacker in the NFL which means you’d want to pay him…right? Not always, with the Bears not likely to compete for a championship for a couple seasons it may be a good idea to add more assets for the draft and allow you to build your team up in that aspect. On the flip side if you pay him the money he wants you won’t have to worry about looking to fill that role for the next 5-6 years.
I will be doing a Bears weekly mailbag till the end of the season. Answering any and all questions to the best of my ability. Check @MonstersOfMw on Twitter every Thursday during training camp. When the season starts ask questions on Sunday before, during, or after the game.
What do you think of the 3 technique? Who is dominating at this position and why is it so important to the success of the defense
The 3-tech is extremely important in the 4-3 defense. A majority of the time the 3-tech lines up on the weak side of the offense. To determine the weak side of the offense, you look at the offensive line and whatever side the Tight End is not on, is the weak side. This makes it harder for the offense to have an extra blocker. The responsibility of the 3-tech is to drive the Guard or Center into the backfield and cause havoc. If done correctly this results in the offense having to alter its attack mid play. Basically, be an absolute menace and wreak havoc. Justin Jones has stood out to me the most. A name to keep an eye out for the backup role is LaCale London.
Do you think they’ll utilize David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert as a duo in the backfield more this year?
Yes I do, and that has nothing to do with Montgomery’s ability. It has to do with Herbert’s ability. On Fridays practice, I didn’t have an exact count, but it seemed like Herbert was getting the same amount of first team reps as Montgomery. I envision a 60/40 split in Montgomery’s favor. Another name to watch is Trestan Ebner the rookie from Baylor. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bears had 4 RBs on the game day roster. It would be David Montgomery, Khalil Herbert, Darryton Evans, Trestan Ebner in order of most touches. It’s going to be fun watching this stacked group continue to grow and develop!
Is Justin Fields the answer at QB?
I do believe Justin is the answer at QB. He was in a awful situation last year, with a coach in Matt Nagy that cared more about his scheme than what his players were good at. Justin had “ too long “ of a throwing motion last year. He cleaned that up and got it faster this off-season. Justin had “ bad “ footwork. He worked on that this off-season, he’s not where he needs to be yet, but I have full confidence he will be. Justin has all the tools, the size, the arm, the athletic ability, the mind set, and even the clutch gene. The clutch gene is evident if you watched him at Ohio State, or at the Pittsburg Steelers game. Justin led a game winning drive on Monday Night, with 2:33 on the clock, in Pittsburgh, with the terrible towels waving, and the crowd roaring! Unfortunately the defense blew it so the Bears still lost. I’m excited to see Justin prove the doubters wrong this year.
Why is Justin Fields so attractive?
The arm? The speed? The heart? The smile? So many choices, I’ll say the fact that he’s a 6’3 QB with 4.4 speed and a cannon of an arm.
The Chicago Bears are in a weird position. Are they rebuilding? Are they retooling? Many of us believe this is going to be a short retooling of an old roster left over from the past regime. Thanks, Ryan Pace! Although the offseason is coming to an end, and preseason will begin shortly, moves can still be made. I Believe making any of these fives moves will improve the Bears of today and the Bears of the future.
Sign Free Agent Center J.C Tretter
Surprisingly, Tretter, who was thought to be an early target for the Bears after his release by the Browns, has still not found a home. The 31-year-old center could provide much-needed stability on the Bears’ offensive line while still producing on the field. For instance, in 1,038 snaps last season, Tretter posted a PFF grade of 78.7 and only allowed one sack. In the event the Bears do sign Tretter, this means Lucas Patrick would likely slide over to right guard. Also, that move pushes Sam Mustipher back to the 2nd team.
Trade Robert Quinn To The Kansas City Chiefs
This Hurts! Robert Quinn is coming off a record-breaking 18.5 sack season for the Chicago Bears. Historically Quinn hasn’t been the most consistent putting together those types of seasons and at the age of 32 do we expect another one? Proven by the Khalil Mack trade, Poles wants to put his players in the best situation possible. Even if it means trading them. Now for the Chiefs, it makes tons of sense. They had a problem getting to the QB last season as they finished 28th in sacks. Hence, they selected Purdue’s George Karlaftis in the first round of the NFL draft. The package for Quinn wouldn’t be large, I would think a 3rd round pick would get it done.
Trade For Giants Wide Receiver Darius Slayton
TRADE ALERT! In this scenario, the Bears would send the Giants a future 4th-round pick for Darius Slayton. As it currently stands with Slayton, his future in New York is seen as “Uncertain”. Notably, with the addition of Wan ‘Dale Robinson, the Giants haven’t shied away from adding talent to the room. Therefore, cashing in on a future draft pick for a player who will likely leave next year would be wise. For the Bears, they get another young talented receiver to be a part of the bright future of this Bears offense.
Sign Free Agent LB Anthony Hitchens
Like Tretter, some thought Hitchens might have been an early target for the Bears heading into free agency. Instead, the Bears signed Nicholas Morrow to play Mike LB alongside Roquan Smith. While being 30 Hitchens can still play. In the AFC Championship game, Hitchens posted the highest PFF grade at 92.3. Although the Chiefs lost Hitchens did his part as he finished the game with 10 total tackles and 1 pass deflection. In the event, the Bears sign Hitchens he’d likely just be a depth piece and a leader in the linebacker room.
Denzel Mims On The Waiver Wire?
Mims was someone I was high on when he was coming out of Baylor in 2020. His ability to go up and get the ball but also be able to outrun defenders caught my eye. Unfortunately, injuries have gotten the best of him as he’s only played in 20 games over his first two seasons. While dealing with injuries the jets have added talent to that room to challenge Mims and now, he sees himself as a potential cut candidate. For the Bears he can learn and develop with Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy and Wide receiver coach Tyke Tolbert in hopes he can become that X receiver for the Bears.
The Bears have made a move to bolster their wide receiver room. Ryan Poles has made a deal with the Patriots sending Chicago former first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry for a 2024 7th round pick.
Harry has amassed 598 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns over his career. Some injuries and other things have kept him from really finding his stride as of today.
The move allows Harry to get a fresh start in Chicago with a team that desperately needs someone to break out and perform the opposite of Darnell Mooney. Harry has the skills and the body to play at a high level in the NFL but it just hasn’t quite clicked for him as of yet. The move shows that General Manager Ryan Poles is still assessing this roster as training camp is right around the corner.
Stay tuned to Monsters of the Midwest as we progress towards training camp.