Penn State Football: Jason Cabinda set for big second season

Once former Penn State football linebacker Jason Cabinda got on the field for the Oakland Raiders, he wowed them as a rookie and never came back off it.

One of the well-known recent members of Penn State football’s “Linebacker U” in Oakland Raiders backer Jason Cabinda is moving up quickly in the NFL. The 2018 undrafted free agent found his home in Oakland and managed to make the team, a major accomplishment in itself. But, he was far from satisfied. The top-10 all-time leader in tackles at Penn State jumped on the field for the final 10 games and recorded 21 tackles (14 solo stops).

Cabinda started three of those contests and instantly became an overachiever in last year’s rookie class. Pro Football Focus didn’t rank him out as an official starter because of his limited snaps. Still, he finished with an unfinished grade of 73.5, which is above average at the linebacker spot.

New Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock was impressed with Cabinda’s football I.Q. before last year’s draft. He talked about his intelligence at the Senior Bowl and how Cabinda wanted to clarify checks that weren’t discussed in team meetings. Hearing about his insight into the game no doubt impressed his new GM.

Free agent addition and former Denver Broncos’ linebacker Brandon Marshall slides into the starting spot in the middle, but there’s no way Cabinda doesn’t see an increase in snaps from last year and possibly even a few starts. In fact, 247Sports listed him as a direct backup on the depth chart for the upcoming season.

Once he was activated to the roster, he never missed a game and gave the defense young energy in what was ultimately a rebuilding year for the Raiders in Jon Gruden’s first year back as head coach.

His intelligence, toughness and production grabbed the attention of the Raiders last year, and it’s the reason he’s back for a second year.

If there’s one thing Penn State football has always done well, it’s put successful linebackers in the NFL. Cabinda is already a success story because he played after going undrafted. He’ll become an even greater story with better and better years from here on in.