Rookie spotlight: Gabe Jackson

Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders front office went back to securing the trenches by selecting offensive lineman Gabe Jackson out of Mississippi State.

Jackson is a prototypical left guard that could very well challenge veteran Khalif Barnes for the starting spot as a rookie.

The 6-foot-3, 336-pound guard started all 52 games at Mississippi State from 2010-2013 and did not give up a single sack last season.

Jackson uses great hands to stay inside of defenders and hold his block. He’s a proven blocker, in both the run and passing game. He has also proven that he is durable and can be relied upon week in and week out.

One knock on Jackson is his lack of elite athleticism. Jackson recorded the slowest 20-yard split at the combine, while also tying for the slowest 40 time of any player at the combine (5.63 seconds). Like the selection of Justin Ellis, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock praised the Raiders for their selection of Jackson.

“Another solid pick,” Mayock said on air after the pick. “Jackson is a physical interior offensive lineman. Most people think he’s best in a phone booth, which means he’s strong and tough.”

Jackson is certainly expected to be a key piece of the Raiders offensive line for years to come, it’s just a matter of when he starts. It will be a fun positional battle to keep an eye on throughout training camp.

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