The Oakland Raiders signed Right Guard Gabe Jackson to a new 5-year deal. The extension will net the 25-year-old $56 million over the life of the deal with an average salary of slightly over $11 million. It’s the third highest for an NFL guard and will keep him with the team through the 2022 season.
The Raiders drafted Jackson in the 3rd round (81st overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft. The 6’3″, 336-pound guard from Mississippi State wasted little time in establishing himself, starting 12 games as a rookie. Under the tutelage of Raiders Offensive Line Coach Mike Tice, Jackson has developed into one of the premier interior linemen. He joins fellow Raider Kelechi Osemele as the only guard duo to not allow a sack during the 2016 season, making the Pro Bowl as an alternate in the process.
Gabe’s power and physicality are a natural fit in the “Power Gap” scheme the Raiders offense utilizes though it is his athleticism that really makes him special. To be able to play in space at his size is a rare feat. This play is a great example of his ability to pull from his right guard position and block in open space.
There is a widely held belief that the most intelligent players in the NFL are offensive linemen. The position requires preparation through hours of film study, recognition of defensive tendencies in different alignments, and at times the sheer ability to react as the play unfolds. While all of these are certainly improved by the quality of coaching Gabe receives, it is still up to the individual player to perform in the moment.
This play is an example of that recognition in action. Gabe passes off #95 who was his original blocking assignment, to pick up the blitzing defensive back. The way the offensive line functioned as a unit was a huge key to the success the team experienced last season.
With Gabe Jackson, Center Rodney Hudson, and Left Guard Kelechi Osemele the Raiders feature one of the most dominant groups of interior linemen. If they’re going to build on their successes of last season, this group is the foundation that’ll make it possible. Locking up their young guard will ensure they have this foundation for several more years.