ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Contributions from interior offensive linemen often can be overlooked.
To put it simply, offensive guards usually aren’t particularly valued. However, Gabe Jackson is proving his worth for the Raiders.
The third-round pick in 2014 has built on his strong rookie season and has had an ultra-productive second season. Jackson has not allowed a sack. He also is strong in run support and is a favorite of the analytical football group Pro Football Focus.
Jackson seems to stand out every week. ESPN NFL Insider Matt Williamson thinks Jackson is on the brink of being an elite player at his position, and he is a cornerstone player for the building Raiders’ program. Williamson loves that the 6-foot-3, 335-pound Jackson is stout, but the Mississippi State product also is light on his feet.
“He’s one of the very top young guards in the NFL right now and a foundational player like (quarterback) Derek Carr, (pass-rusher) Khalil Mack and (receiver) Amari Cooper,” Williamson said. “But, of course, since he is a guard and not a (skill-position player) he isn’t spoken about with that group.”
The soft-spoken Jackson said it means a lot to him not to allow any sacks, and it’s a goal of his to not allow any sacks this season. However, he doesn’t get caught up about all the talk that he is close to being an All-Pro player.
“That’s all potential,” Jackson said.
Whether he admits it or not, Jackson is reaching that potential.