Detroit will have a new face in its linebacker corps this Sunday when it takes on NFC North foe Minnesota.
Second-year linebacker Jason Cabinda has been added to the Lions’ 53-man active roster from the practice squad.
Cabinda came to fame this summer via the HBO series “Hard Knocks,” which featured the former Raiders linebacker being cut in the season finale.
It was a surprising cut, as he tallied 21 tackles and a QB hit in just 10 games, including three starts, during his rookie season in 2018.
According to Pro Football Focus, Cabinda graded out as the third-best rookie linebacker a season ago.
Detroit primarily uses Jarrad Davis and rookie Jahlani Tavai as its inside linebackers, which is where Cabinda lined up in college at Penn State and with the Raiders.
Davis, heading into Week 10, graded out as the worst linebacker in the NFL with a grade below 39.0.
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In subsequent weeks, Davis has played better, but his PFF grade is still only at 42.5.
Davis can be a role-playing linebacker in run support (58.5 grade) and pass rush (73.4 grade).
But it’s clear he’s a liability as an every-down middle linebacker with a 32.4 coverage grade.
That being said, Cabinda has a great opportunity in Detroit to get his NFL career back on track.
In 2018, he graded out with a 69.2 coverage grade, remarkably higher than the mark Davis has recorded during his third year in the league.
Overall, Cabinda graded out at a 73.5 mark, with a 68.4 run defense grade and a 66.7 pass rush grade.
If Cabinda can be the pass-covering linebacker in the middle that Detroit desperately needs, he could end up finding himself in a big-time role on a struggling Lions defense not only the rest of this year but also in 2020.