Analyzing Linebacker Jason Cabinda’s Draft Status
Jason Cabinda finished his career at Penn State ranked among the top ten all time for the program in tackles with 279. The former team captain was a three-year starter at middle linebacker, and was often heralded for his leadership on a young team.
ESPN college football analyst and former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit has shown his love for Cabinda frequently, saying he is a star and has a bright future in the booth when he hangs his cleats up.
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) December 15, 2017
Cabinda certainly brings the intangibles to the field. He has a knack for knowing exactly where to be at what time, and can lift the defense with a game-changing play. His return to the team for Penn State’s 2016 upset of Ohio State during the White Out is ample evidence of that.
Although Cabinda has all the traits NFL teams look for in the quarterback of the defense, he needs to show that he has the athleticism to play the position in the NFL Combine, and then early on in his professional career. Most of Cabinda’s tackles were assisted tackles, compared to solo tackles. Cabinda also did not register a single interception in his four-year college career.
As it stands, you can probably expect a franchise to snag Cabinda in the later rounds of the draft. Mel Kiper Jr. said Cabinda likely has a fifth- or sixth-round draft grade. He’s currently ranked as the fourth-best inside linebacker in his class by CBS Sports.
To get drafted on day two of the draft, Cabinda will need to have a big performance at the Combine. If he is able to show scouts that he is capable of keeping up athletically in the NFL, he has a chance of pushing himself up to a late day two pick. Regardless of his draft placement, Cabinda will be an anchor in the middle of the defense and could be a significant contributor on special teams for any NFL franchise.