Offensive Line's Versatility On Full Display With Gabe Jackson's Position Change

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Guard Gabe Jackson

The Oakland Raiders have built an offensive line of big, powerful men, but offensive line coach Mike Tice's group isn't just big and strong – they're versatile too.

For evidence of that versatility, look no further than guard Gabe Jackson.

Throughout his first two seasons in the NFL – and his college career at Mississippi State as well – Jackson has played almost exclusively on the left side of the offensive line, but through the first five Organized Team Activities [OTAs], he's shifted to the right side, with newly-signed guard Kelechi Osemele now operating next to left tackle Donald Penn.

"From our standpoint, we're looking for the best combination," said Head Coach Jack Del Rio when asked about Jackson's switch. "We feel like he's got the power that's really a covet for a right guard, in particular."

Jackson echoed Del Rio's assessment, and while he did acknowledge that there will be some growing pains, the switch is a challenge he's looking forward to tackling.

"I wouldn't say anything's the biggest challenge, it's just different," said Jackson. "Anytime you have something new there are different growing pains. It's different, but at the same time it's fun. I feel like I'm at the starting point of my career and the beginning point of my career and the more you can learn, the better it is. The more you can do, the better it is. I'm glad and anxious about it, and excited to get started."

While Jackson may be the one making headlines for his position change right now, the whole group has the ability to be multiple and shift around the offensive line. Not only does Osemele have the ability to play either guard position, he can also play left tackle if the situation arises, and Austin Howard also has game experience playing both tackle and guard.

Del Rio has said time and time again that depth across the roster is critical, but the versatility of the members of the offensive line is equally important.

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