Scouting The Draft: Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

We continue to take a look at some of the top prospects for the 2014 NFL draft in relation to the New York Jets.

Introduction

A feature of my reports this week rests on the players performance at the senior bowl. A lot of these guys I liked, but I wanted to see how they performed down in Mobile, Alabama. Now we have the results, I think it's safe to put down initial thoughts. Obviously we are still very early in the scouting process, they haven't taken part in the combine or invited teams to their pro-day, however the work is going on behind the scenes just as much.

Earlier this week I brought you my scouting report on Jimmie Ward, my favourite prospect and favourite safety in the draft. Here I bring you a report on my favourite offensive lineman of the draft. Mississippi State and All-SEC selection Gabe Jackson. Given a 3 star rating by most recruiting outlets, Jackson was a highly sought after athlete. Having played on both the offensive and defensive side of the football in high school, some thought he may switch permanently to the defensive side of the ball.

Jackson entertained offers from programs such as LSU, Auburn and Ole Miss, however eventually he settled on the Mississippi bulldogs as his team of choice, and the trajectory of his play soaring, he made the right choice. So lets dive straight into his scouting report and as always, please leave your comments below.

Measurables

Height: 6'4

Weight: 340 lb's

Class: Senior

Projected 40: 5.3-5.4

Positives

  • Build: If you are looking for a good offensive guard you'll be focusing on weight distribution, long arms, big hands and power in the lower body. Well Jackson has all of those, 33" arms, almost 10" hands and 340lb's that are distributed well, culminating in a powerful lower body.
  • Athleticism: I don't like plodders, even on the inside of the line. Jackson shows a lot of athleticism for such a big man, with good lateral quickness and an ability to pull and block out in space if needed.
  • Toughness: A very physical player with the ability to be a mauler in the run game, uses his hands well and has a very powerful lower body.
  • Balance: Whether you are sitting back in pass protection or working in run blocking, you need to show good balance against these athletic defensive freaks in the NFL, Jackson shows a lot of balance.
  • Leverage: A lot of bigger college athletes don't work hard enough on technique using their raw power to get by, when they face more powerful opposition at the NFL level this is exposed. Fortunately for Jackson he is not one of those people. He uses excellent leverage, keeps his knees bent and his shoulders square.
  • Durability: Earned a starting spot at left guard his redshirt freshman season and hasn't missed a game since as far as I'm aware, you want that with guys in the trenches.
Negatives
  • Second Level: Although he does look nimble out in the open, he needs to sustain his blocks longer and when he gets to the second level he needs to ensure he is engaging more opening bigger lanes for the back.
  • Hand Placement: I like his leverage, I like his technique, but sometimes I want to see those hands a little closer into the chest, outside the pads and NFL officials may start to call holding penalties on him.
  • Explosion: Sometimes he can be a little tardy off the line with the snap, gives up his natural leverage when he doesn't get going straight away. I want to see more explosion off the snap on a consistent basis to avoid getting driven pack into the pocket.
Conclusion

Gabe is not a complete guard, which is why he isn't be spoken about as a first round talent, and in my opinion he probably drops out of the second round as well. So you are looking at a 3rd round player with the potential to start his rookie season and evolve into a complete guard. He has a lot of really good traits that make him very attractive to a team that needs help on the line. If a team takes him and just improves the negatives, his natural talent and athletic ability will do the rest.

Would I draft him for the Jets?

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, he is my favourite guard prospect in relation to value based on his estimated selection position. I really like that a guy like Jackson has all the physical tools as well as the technique already. I wouldn't draft him any earlier than the third round because we have more pressing needs, however I would be very happy to have him in the 3rd and if we can get him in the 4th, then I think 2-3 years down the line we will be looking at this selection like Seattle are looking at the Chancellor selection!
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