The Oakland Raiders selected Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson with the 81st pick in the third round. The pick was acquired from the Miami Dolphins after Oakland traded down. They also received pick No. 116 for the 61st pick. He is 6'3" and weighs over 330 pounds. It's possible he starts in 2014.
What Jackson Brings to the Table
A Big Smart Player
Jackson is a smart player and has solid fundamentals as an offensive guard. He has long arms and great size. He has a big and strong lower body, which makes him hard to move around if you are a defender. He has a good punch and good balance. He could use his strength better, but he's good enough to start now.
One of the Raiders' biggest weaknesses in recent years was their offensive line. They never had depth and never had quality starters. Looking at their roster now, the offensive line could be their biggest strength. Jackson will add to that offensive line and could provide them with immediate quality depth. He could be the Raiders starter after the 2014 season and for many years after that.
Where Jackson Fits
The Raiders added Austin Howard, Donald Penn and Kevin Boothe on the offensive line this season. I expect Jackson to immediately compete for a starting position at guard. Howard could move inside to guard, so that would leave one spot for Jackson, Boothe and Khalif Barnes to compete for. Jackson is good enough to win that job.
The Raiders could have Menelik Watson, Jackson, Stefen Wisniewski, Austin Howard and Donald Penn as their starting line up on the offensive line. That is much better than it was last year.
I expect Jackson to come in and use his size and football intelligence to his advantage in the offseason. I think he'll win one of the starting spots at guard, giving the Raiders four starting offensive linemen in their 20s. Jackson fits the type of player McKenzie wants at guard. Big, long and smart.
If Jackson does start at guard the Raiders run game could see a big boost, as Howard and Jackson both weigh over 330 pounds. The Raiders starting guards could weigh a total of 670 pounds combined. That's a big group.
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