STRENGTHS - Quick to read and react to the play, Sabino clearly has naturally good football instincts. So combined with his playing speed and agility to avoid blockers on the move, he is consistently productive chasing down plays in backside pursuit. His quickness, instincts and speed also allow him to cut behind blocker to chase play down from behind - He will be unlikely to maintain this in NFL as few linebackers ever can. When his responsibility calls for him to take on lead blocker, he does so with good base and hand-use to hold ground, shed and make play. Zone drops look quick and smooth for Sabino as long as he keeps his knees bent and stays over feet. Has no trouble flipping hips to adjust to man "crossing his face" within his area and can react and close in time to make tackle right after the catch. Although, rarely asked to cover in man coverage in m views, Sabino did a good job on few chances he had. Displaying uncommon timing and quickness, Sabino is able to consistently shoot gaps in offensive line to get into backfield to pressure quarterback when he blitzes.
WEAKNESSES - Despite good measured size, Sabino looks drastically smaller "on the hoof" and actually looks more like a safety than a linebacker physically. At Ohio State he has been effective taking on and shedding pulling offensive linemen out in space, but he will need to avoid those blockers at the next level if he is going to be productive on running plays at him. While effective pressuring quarterback through excellent timing and quickness, Sabino needs to use hands better as pass rusher to carry over his pass rushing production in the NFL. In traffic Sabino tends to get bounced around and must protect legs better vs. low/cut blocks to avoid getting chopped down in the NFL. He has a bad habit of stopping feet before making contact on tackle and it leads to him diving/lunging and missing more tackles than a linebacker with his athleticism should.
SUMMARY - Sabino is an interesting linebacker because he has excellent football instincts, a quick burst of acceleration to get to full speed and the speed to chase plays down in pursuit. However, he is not a big looking or playing linebacker on film and will need to prove he can handle dealing with NFL blockers if he is going to be successful in the NFL. With his speed, competitiveness and willingness to hit, Sabino has the tools to be a good special teams player, which should give him the time to develop as a linebacker. Overall, Sabino is a talented prospect who reminds me a little of former Michigan linebacker and current Charger James Mouton, although Mouton was more polished in pass coverage. In the third or fourth round Sabino would be a good choice as he has starting linebacker traits and should develop into a starter in time if he proves he can deal with NFL blockers.