Gabe Jackson Is Joining The Raiders Ranks

Those draft experts knew what they were talking about. And the Oakland Raiders know a good thing when they see it. Friday, the franchise made Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson their third-round selection in the National Football League draft.

Jackson, the All-American guard, was the 81st overall pick in this year's draft. He also went right where analysts had projected, on the second day.

"I am thankful to be an Oakland Raider," Jackson said in a statement provided by Mississippi State media relations. "I am mentally ready for the next level. I am not going to let anyone outwork me. I thank all our coaches and fans for all of the support the last four years. I will always be a Bulldog."

Bulldog fans could always count on seeing Jackson on the field with Coach Dan Mullen's offense. The Liberty, Miss., native was part of Mullen's first Mississippi State signing class back in February 2009. After a redshirt year, he moved into the starting lineup and never left it, opening all 52 possible games in his four varsity seasons.

In the process Jackson became the first-ever Bulldog to not merely play in a record four-straight bowl games, but to start each of them with three victories. He also walked off Scott Field for a final time last November with his third victory in a Battle for the Golden Egg. After not allowing a sack in 2013, Jackson was named first-team All-American by Walter Camp and USA Today.

"He was a four-year starter, a big-time player, and I am so proud of him," Mullen said in the MSU release. "He's a first-round talent, he led the nation's toughest conference in career starts. He will have a long, successful career."

Jackson is the 13th Bulldog drafted during Mullen's Mississippi State tenure, with at least one Dog taken in all five drafts. He joins former line-mate Derek Sherrod from the 2010 Gator Bowl champions as Bulldog blockers in the professional ranks, where he is sure someday to run into—literally—former defensive teammate Fletcher Cox and several more fellow alumni.

Day three of the draft begins 11:00am Saturday (CT) with the fourth-through-sixth rounds and a handful of Bulldogs hopeful of hearing their names called. There will surely be other well-known names called as well in another draft year dominated by athletes from the Southeastern Conference.

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