|Spruce Derden / USA TODAY Sports|
|Mississippi State OG Gabe Jackson is a preseason candidate for the Outland Trophy.|
HOOVER, Ala. -- Mississippi State senior Gabe Jackson (6-4, 335) is expected to rank high on NFL draft boards among offensive guards next spring. And while his size and physical strength are primary reasons, MSU quarterback Tyler Russell said Jackson's mental game is equally sharp.
"Gabe Jackson, he knows everything on the offensive line, everything everyone needs to do," Russell said. "When you have a guy like that, he and (center) Dillon Day who have played together for awhile, they help me out so much. Especially with IDs. Sometimes those guys see things that I can't see, as far as, 'This guy is about to blitz' ... change protection, all that. I saw that last year, and I'm expecting to see it a lot more this year."
NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who has Jackson ranked among his top 50 college players (list will debut Thursday), recently gushed over the MSU guard on Twitter after talking to friends in the NFL scouting community and studying his tape:
I've had several scouting buddies rave about Mississippi St OG Gabe Jackson. Just finished 1st game...big, powerful base and explosive handsâ Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) July 16, 2013
Russell, also a senior, said Jackson's confidence in becoming a leader on the offensive front took some time to grow. Over time, however, he became one of the best communicators along the Bulldogs' offensive front. Then, of course, there is the raw power that the preseason Outland Trophy candidate brings to the left guard position after the snap.
"Gabe is so strong," said sophomore linebacker Benardrick McKinney, one of the SEC's best young players. "Once he gets his hands on you, it's over with."
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.