It didn’t take long for two undrafted Nittany Lions to find homes.
Minutes after the NFL draft, Penn State linebacker Jason Cabinda and wideout Saeed Blacknall both announced on Twitter they were moving on to the pros with the Oakland Raiders.
Cabinda — a 6-foot-1, 239-pound prospect — was never the fastest or most athletic player on the field. But he was always among the most important pieces to Penn State’s defense, acting as the vocal leader and never giving up on a play. Blacknall’s athletic gifts were always evident — he ran a sub-4.4 at the team pro day — but he never quite realized his four-star potential by finishing his career with 50 catches for 979 yards.
Now, both will hope to find new roles within the Raiders’ organization. And, based on what Penn State coaches and teammates have said, they’re getting two unique prospects.
“(Cabinda) is a guy that you go in meetings, he is locked in,” Penn State coach James Franklin said last season. “He’s an active listener. He’s an active learner. He’s on the edge of his seat. He’s nodding his head. He’s got great eye contact, and he’s the guy that you feel really strong is going and reinforcing in the locker room and Saturday night what the young guys should be doing, as well.”
Last season, Franklin said about Blacknall, “Whenever he’s able to get in space, you look at the post, he’s been able to make big plays. Or when he’s able to catch the ball in space, he has a chance to turn that into a big play.”
Blacknall, a 6-foot-3 and 212-pound wideout, finished last season with 17 catches for 289 yards and a pair of scores. As a junior, he broke out with a 155-yard, two-TD performance in the Big Ten championship. Cabinda was a three-year starter who finished No. 9 on the school’s all-time tackles list with 286 stops.