After a redshirt year, Abbate burst onto the scene as a freshman, coming through with 101 tackles, 3.5 for loss, a sack, and a pick on the year. As a sophomore in just 10 games, he finished the year with 76 tackles, six for loss, two sacks, and two interceptions. In his final year at Wake, he had 120 tackles, seven for loss, three sacks, an interception on his way to earning 1st team All ACC honors.
Abbate is a throwback at the linebacker position. There is not a tougher player in the draft, and Abbate will continue to fight until the play is over. He has excellent instincts, and reacts quickly to plays in front of him. He reads a run play and aggressively hits the gap to plug a hole. He is very strong, and combined with his tenacity, makes him a force between the tackles at stopping the run.
A lack of height is a major issue for Abbate. He is a shade under 5'10, which creates problems matching up against lineman and in coverage. His body also appears to be maxed out at just over 230lbs. He shows some cover instincts, but lacks the speed and athleticism to cover down the field.
With his instincts and toughness, Abbate will find a role in the NFL. There are pressing questions about his upside because of his lack of overall size, but if a player can overcome those issues, Abbate can. Despite his lack of size he could be a very good run stopper in the NFL, along with adding a presence on special teams.