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Latest Senior Bowl Buzz: Packers Interview OL Gabe Jackson

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Latest Senior Bowl Buzz: Packers Interview OL Gabe Jackson

The steps the Packers took in 2013 to get away from being strictly a zone-blocking offense were admirable, but it's not as if they abandoned their zone schemes entirely.

Without a doubt, the addition of a top-notch workhorse back like Eddie Lacy helped the transition, and the Packers were able to incorporate many more power elements to their running game this past season with interior linemen like Josh Sitton, Evan Dietrich-Smith and T.J. Lang pulling in front of Lacy and even utilizing the rare trap.

Perhaps their interest in massive Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson hints that the Packers are interested in taking the next step and becoming even more of power-oriented offense.

According to NFL.com, Jackson interviewed with both the Packers and the Raiders while at the site of Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala. this week.

Simply interviewing a player may not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but the connection between Jackson and the Packers is an interesting one, because the 6-3, 339 lb. offensive lineman definitely doesn't seem to fit the mold of a zone-blocking type of player.

According to Cheesehead TV's own "Pro Football Draft Preview" analyst Paul Guillemette, who's covering the event for Great Blue North Draft Report this week in Mobile, Jackson is doing well in practice but may not exactly be scheme-diverse.

"I still like most of what I see from big Mississippi State OG Gabe Jackson who is going to need to go to an NFL team that still employs a power running game, but as I watch this giant work I still think of Chance Warmack last year," writes Guillemette. "Warmack showed some warts as we watched more film of him leading up to the draft. I see the same kind of player in Jackson, but even bigger."

Many also thought Larry Warford was a strictly a power blocking offensive lineman prior to last year's draft, but as a third round draft choice (of the Detroit Lions), he proved he would have been a very worthy addition to any team.

Jackson is ranked as the fifth overall guard in this year's class and projected to be a third round draft choice by NFLDraftScout.com, the gold standard for outlets covering the draft. He was named to Cheesehead TV's All-Bowl team for his play in the Liberty Bowl win over Rice.

With Evan Dietrich-Smith set to become a free agent this March, maybe one of the Packers' underrated––and yet unlikely––backup plans is to transition T.J. Lang to a full-time center should Dietrich-Smith leave.

Such a move would open the door to a new starter at right guard, where Jackson could fit into the Packers' plans. It's mere speculation at this point, but the Green Bay run game would figure to benefit as a result.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (8) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Great read Brian.

I agree that at this point the interviews mean something to teams, but for us it really doesn't mean to much.

It is interesting though that they talked to Jackson because he is a big G.
This year we have seen the Packer do a lot more pulling with the guards, as well as more power football, so it wouldn't surprise me to see them changing their previous philosophy with the OL.

If they are looking to go with a big G, one guy I keep hearing more and more about is Cyril Richardson from Baylor. He is even bigger at 6'4 343.

Greenville's picture

Interesting very interesting well if they are looking to move Lang to center and draft a big nasty gaurd that would be nice.

Hands's picture

The problem w/ Cyril Richardson is he can't handle the quick guys.

taco's picture

Thanks for the read, Brian. I actually think Lang at C has some potential.

If Sherrod returns healthy and performs any where near his #1 potential, a line that looked like Bak-Sitton-Lang-Bulaga-Sherrod would be interesting. Tretter, Barclay and a draft pick are back ups. As good as Bulaga has been at T, he may have over achieved there. I still think he'd be best suited to G longer term.

If Sherrod doesn't fully develop, a line of Bak-Sitt-Lang-Barclay-Bulaga would look pretty good too. Tretter, Sherrod, and a draft pick are your back ups.

In either case, Lang at C can help get your best OL on the field. Sherrod is the wild card.

Phatgzus's picture

Enjoy your writing and the product it begets, BC, but I hafta ask (and please forgive me if you've ready addressed this)-does NFLDraftScout.com slip you a cool "G" every time you refer to them as the "gold standard"?

Brian Carriveau's picture

Haha, I probably have said that too many times. I just want people to know that who maybe haven't read any of the previous articles.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I like Bakhtiari and Sherrod. But the rose tinted glasses need to come off and we need to stop anointing these guys as saviors . Bakhtiari was not a good tackle. He was not even an average tackle. Sherrod had physical skills. Does he still have them? No one knows unless he was able to show something in practice. I think Bakhtiari might get stronger over the off-season and develop into a fine player, and Sherrod might blossom too. Lang has not shown that he can play center at an average level. If you move Lang, no one on the roster has shown they can play guard as well as Lang. The ratings by PFF don't take into account that Lacey turned a lot bad run blocking by Bakhtiari that should have resulted in a loss or little to no gain into 2 and 3 yard gains. We've had enough of on the job training for a starters on the O-line. That said, moving Barclay inside makes sense to me as he has pretty well shown that he can only be an emergency starter at tackle, and barring injuries, should have been getting reps and guard and center in the first place.

HUMP's picture

tj lang will never be the starting center for us period!! barring injury i should add. Tretter is the guy unless eds comes back on the cheap,and i still like tretters chances at that. unless sherrod is permanently damaged,he and bulaga will be the starting tackles sept 3,book it! BAHKTIARI is an awesome back up,but not a perfect fix when you need to protect the best QB in the game

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