Guard, Mississippi State
Projected Round: 1-2
A big, strong guard, Gabe Jackson is one of the best interior lineman in this draft. He has a solid base with long arms and is equally adept at run and pass blocking. Scouts rave about his intangibles and football IQ. By all accounts he has everything you want out of a potential starting lineman.
His only limitations are a low ceiling. He doesn’t explode off the lines and shock defenders, but he is as dependable as you could wish for in a young lineman. He lacks versatility and would struggle if asked to move outside to tackle, which is really the only reason he might slip to the early second round.
Why The Falcons Should Draft Him:
Atlanta needs a complete rebuild on the offensive line this offseason. They need to find at least one starter in the draft, and if they go pass rusher Jackson will likely be the best O-Lineman available early in the second round. The Falcons can slot him in on the line right away and he is about as safe a pick as you’re going to find in the early second round.
Why The Falcons Should Stay Away:
With a pick early in the second round you might want someone with higher upside than a servicable starting interior lineman. You can find those guys in the later rounds, and the Falcons might choose to gamble that a starting guard can be found in the fourth or fifth rounds.