Rams add linebacker Etienne Sabino

March, 25, 2014
Mar 25
2:30
PM ET
The St. Louis Rams have made a habit of bringing in former Ohio State linebackers over the years, and added another to the list Monday when they signed former James Laurinaitis backup Etienne Sabino.

Much like the signing of cornerback Greg Reid, Sabino falls into the "who's that?" category amongst free agents, an off-the-radar addition the Rams likely hope can earn a spot and provide some depth. But hoping for much more than that is likely a setup for failure.

Sabino was a backup to Laurinaitis early in his career but eventually worked his way into the starting lineup for the Buckeyes. As a senior in 2012, he started eight games at strongside linebacker, missing four games with a fractured fibula. He posted two sacks and 45 tackles and managed an invite to the NFL scouting combine.

When the 2013 draft arrived, Sabino didn't get drafted, but signed with the New York Giants soon after the draft. He didn't make the team but apparently made a good impression on the coaching staff during training camp and the preseason.

Sabino had some workouts during the season, but never caught on to an active roster.

In St. Louis, Sabino has an uphill climb to make the roster. Though the Rams have a bit of a need at linebacker, they are mostly set at the starting spots with Laurinaitis, Alec Ogletree and Jo-Lonn Dunbar. In terms of backups with the ability to contribute on special teams, Ray Ray Armstrong and Daren Bates were difference-makers on coverage units, especially after reigning in the penalty issues from early in the season.

The Rams did carry six linebackers in 2013, and veteran Will Witherspoon remains unsigned as a free agent. Theoretically, that would leave a spot open for someone like Sabino or Philip Steward, an undrafted rookie the team liked well enough to keep after he suffered a season-ending injury. It's also entirely possible the Rams will look to add another linebacker in the draft who could compete for more serious playing time.

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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