ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The pick: Gabe Jackson, guard, Mississippi State
My take: The Oakland Raiders stayed true to their board in selecting the massive Jackson (6 feet 3, 336 pounds) after trading back 14 spots in the third round and acquiring an additional fourth-round pick from the Miami Dolphins. Jackson first caught the Raiders' eyes at the Senior Bowl after being a two-time All-American and four-time All-SEC left guard. He started 52 games at left guard for the Bulldogs and was credited with 20 touchdown blocks on 29 scoring runs.
Oakland rebuilt its offensive line with established veterans this offseason in Donald Penn, Kevin Boothe and Austin Howard but losing left tackle Jared Veldheer still stings. The Raiders are one of three teams, along with the Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to have lost four linemen who played at least 250 snaps last season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. So yeah, the Raiders could use another interior offensive linemen and Jackson is seen as a road grader-type who excels in the power-blocking scheme. Raiders director of player personnel Joey Clinkscales says he believes Jackson can contribute right away. We’ll see.
Wild-card category: The projected offensive linemen coming into the draft, at least in this corner, looked like this: LT Penn, LG Boothe, C Stefen Wisniewski, RG Austin Howard, RT Menelik Watson, with reserves Khalif Barnes, Tony Bergstrom, Matt McCants and Lamar Mady. Jackson would seemingly have to beat out the undrafted Mady for a spot.
What’s next: Barring any more trades, the Raiders have the seventh and 16th picks of the fourth round Saturday (Nos. 107 and 116 overall) and then do not pick again until the seventh round, where they have three picks (Nos. 219, 235 and 247). The Raiders still have needs on the defensive line as well as in the secondary.