Trading down in the third to pick No. 81 with the Miami Dolphins, the Oakland Raiders added a second fourth round pick on Saturday in addition to also getting one of the best run blockers in this year’s draft class.
Reggie McKenzie selected offensive guard Gabe Jackson from Miss. State with his third round pick, selecting a big bodied mauler of a run blocker with an 82′ wingspan to bolster the team’s offensive line after adding Austin Howard and Donald Penn during free agency earlier this offseason.
Jackson was a four-year starter while playing for Miss. St. as one of the top guards in the SEC during his stay, amassing over 52 games at left guard. According to NFL.com, Jackson did not give up a sack over the last two seasons while also making his hay as one of the best run blocking guards in the country along with SEC rival Greg Robinson from Auburn who was the second pick in the draft to the Rams as a left tackle.
Leadership skills also likely were a factor in McKenzie’s decision to select Jackson as he was a two time captain during his college career, leadership that the Raiders coveted in earlier picks Khalil Mack and Derek Carr (who was the Raiders earlier pick on Friday, going in the second round at Pick No. 36)
Going into Saturday’s later rounds the Raiders should feel confident that they have significantly built their future with their fist three picks. While Carr won’t contribute right way, McKenzie now has two potential Week One starters in Mack and Jackson out of the third round. With 2013 second rounder Menelik Watson hopefully getting healthy and adjusted to life in the NFL during his sophomore season in Oakland, the Raiders could have their future on the offensive line with an elite guard in Gabe Jackson falling to them in the third round. Trading down to No. 81 and securing a fourth round pick from the Dolphins makes the end of Friday even sweeter for the Raiders war room.