May 10, 2014 1:23:16 AM
STARKVILLE -- For Gabe Jackson the autumn wind will now be a Raider.
Jackson, a former Mississippi State offensive guard, was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the 81st overall pick in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft Friday night.
"Gabe is a big, powerful young man," Oakland Raiders Director of Player Personnel Joey Clinkscales said. "He gives the physicality that we're looking for in the run game, he's athletic enough in the pass game to move. We're excited to have Gabe."
Jackson, a native of Liberty, Miss., is the first Bulldog offensive lineman to be picked in the NFL Draft since Derek Sherrod went to the Green Bay Packers in the 2011 first round. Jackson started all 52 games of his MSU career and did not allow a sack in his senior season. He was a first-team All-America selection by Walter Camp and USA Today.
"I am thankful to be an Oakland Raider," said Jackson via the school's release. "I am mentally ready for the next level. I am not going to let anyone outwork me. I thank all of our coaches and fans for all of the support the last four years."
Jackson, a 336-pound guard, has been listed on several analysts mock drafts as a potential selection anywhere from late in the first round to early in the third round of the process.
"Gabe Jackson is a physical interior offensive lineman that played just guard at Mississippi State," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said about the pick. "A lot of people think he is best in a phone booth meaning he's strong, tough and better in a man scheme than a zone scheme."
Jackson started all 52 games of his MSU career and is likely to allow the school to boast a fourth straight year with an NFL Draft selection under head coach Dan Mullen, including three last season when Darius Slay, Johnthan Banks and Josh Boyd were picked.
"Gabe was a four-year starter, a big-time player, and I am proud of him," Mullen said in the university release. "He's first-round talent. He led the nation's toughest conference in career starts. He will have a long, successful career."
The Raiders moved down 14 spots before taking Jackson with the 81st overall pick. Oakland also added a fourth-round pick from Miami in the deal, 116th overall. The Raiders have overhauled their offensive line this offseason, signing tackle Donald Penn and guards Austin Howard and Kevin Boothe.
"I like the pick of Gabe Jackson. He is a mauler who some scouts thought had second-round ability," CBS Sports NFL analyst Pete Prisco said of the Jackson pick. "Nice hit by the Raiders."
Earlier in the day, Oakland Oakland took Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr in the second round after adding pass rusher Khalil Mack from University of Buffalo in the first round of the draft on Thursday.
"I think he could come in and play pretty early for anybody," Clinkscales said. "He's a powerful, physical young man. When you're building a guard, physically, that's what they look like. Once he gets on the field and competes with the other guys, then we'll see how that turns out. I am pretty confident that Gabe will come in and compete and be tough and be exactly what we expect him to be."
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.