On Thursday, the Raiders announced the signing of their final unsigned pick in May, guard Gabe Jackson.
Jackson, a two-time All-American at Mississippi State, was selected by the Raiders in the third round, the 81st overall pick. GM Reggie McKenzie selected a lineman for head coach Dennis Allen roster who's been described as a mauler.
Now, the 6-foot-3, 335-pounder is out to win the starting job at left guard. But it won’t be easy. Veteran Khalif Barnes – who played well at left guard the last half of 2013 after moving from tackle – and former Giant Kevin Boothe stand in his way. Both have been effective NFL linemen.
Yet Jackson is motivated.He’s said he’s out to win a starting spot as a rookie and contribute right away.
Jackson didn’t give up a sack his final two seasons and opened up huge holes for the Bulldogs’ running attack. He was credited with 294 knockdowns and 47 touchdown-resulting blocks in his college career.
“He works at his game and consistently improving every aspect of his game,” his college coach, Dan Mullen, told Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. “He has a serious approach, loves it and on top of that, he’s a powerful, talented young man.”
Jackson says he brings a work ethic and a very physical style to the Raiders.
“They’re going to see a lot of hard work from me, commitment and smart thinking and wise decisions,” said Jackson, the son of a minister.
After going through a short rookie camp and the first portion of organized team activities, Jackson says he’s starting to feel comfortable.
This week, he told the Raiders’ website that he’s adjusting to the speed and “everything was a lot faster and quicker for me.”
Raiders director of player personnel Joey Clinkscales believes Oakland now has under contract a player who could be dominant on the inside of the offensive line,
“Gabe is a big, powerful young man,” he told reporters after Jackson was drafted. “He gives the physicality that we’re looking for in the run game; he’s athletic enough in the pass game to move. We’re excited to have Gabe.”