Time will tell if Gabe Jackson can live up to the treasured legacy of Raiders’ offensive guards
Earlier this week, the Oakland Raiders locked up one of its core players in offensive guard Gabe Jackson, a signing that’ll help lead to quarterback Derek Carr staying on his feet for the coming years.
While the extension was well deserved, by all means, the pressure will now lie on Jackson’s shoulders to help keep the momentum going that’s been started by the monstrous offensive line in Oakland. Barring any major injuries in the foreseeable future, how will Jackson be judged in 10 or 20 years from now?
Well, if this current unit that has a window of several years to win a Super Bowl can deliver something special, then there’s little doubt Jackson will be remembered alongside other important blockers like Gene Upshaw, who also happens to arguably be the greatest guard of “all time”.
As far back as two years ago, Pro Football Focus was rating Jackson as one of the better guards as a rookie (3rd Round pick out of Mississippi State) with a +3.7 overall rating, which ended up being a precursor to Jackson’s future dominance.
Historically, the “all time” greats such as Upshaw, Steve Wisniewski, and most recently, Jackson’s teammate and an opposite of him, Kelechi Osemele (Osemele’s sheer dominance last season warrants a mention) have all played during the varying era’s in Raiders football and yet are still remembered regardless.
For Upshaw, he played alongside some of the most dominant and commanding linemen ever in Raiders history, from Jim Otto to Art Shell. Wisniewski for his part was a titan yet played in one of the least memorable times in Raiders’ lore but ended up with eight Pro Bowl appearances, two First Team All-Pro nods and was part of the NFL’s 1990’s All-Decade Team.
Comparing players from different eras is often seen as “unnecessary” or “ridiculous” nowadays, but the fact remains that with such history at this position for the Raiders, it’s bound to happen.
Having displayed such mastery at a relatively young age, the sky’s the limit for Jackson who for the moment, will be blocking for Carr for many years to come as he too, will conceivably cement a place in Raiders’ lore.