Nov 2, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs offensive linesman Gabe Jackson (61) in the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks defeated the Bulldogs 34-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Guards might be one of the most underrated positions in the NFL draft. Their play on an offensive line can help make or break the success of a quarterback, tackle, or center in the NFL. They have to have the blocking ability of a tackle and the mobility of a fullback.
Oct 20, 2012; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs offensive linesman Gabe Jackson (61) blocks Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders defensive end Jimmy Staten (90) during the game at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State Bulldogs defeated the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 45-3. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson can do anything a guard is asked to do in the NFL. He can plow a hole for a running back or pass block with the best blockers in the draft. His power can push defensive linemen back with ease and his finesse can allow him to pull when needed. He shows enough agility and fancy footwork to act as a pass blocker at a high level.
However, Jackson does have a few flaws. He tends to focus primarily on one defensive player when blocking and can get caught on stunts or blitzes over the top of the defensive linemen. This is something that can be worked on and taught at the NFL level, so it isn’t a huge concern. But still, it shows that there is room for improvement in Gabe Jackson’s game.
At 6’3″ and 336 pounds, Jackson looks the part of an NFL starting guard. He was a three-year starter at Mississippi State and has plenty of experience on tape for teams to look at. He impressed at the combine, running the 40 yard dash in 5.51 seconds, doing 30 reps of 225 pounds, and having a nine foot broad jump. He is a very physical player who should be an instant starter in the NFL.
- Nimble feet
- Low center of gravity
- Long arms
- Can miss assignments when pulling
- Locks in on blocking one player
- Can overextend in pass coverage
Fit For The Vikings
Minnesota will be looking for a guard to upgrade on weak link Charlie Johnson at left guard.
As a second round selection, Gabe Jackson could prove to be a huge asset to the Vikings offense. I see him as a HUGE upgrade to the left guard position. He should be considered at #40 if available.