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In Good Company


It took only a few moments after his name was announced when the nickname suggestions started coming in.

I received a chat window that just read, "Old Hickory." My suggestion was, "20 Bucks." And more and more the nicknames came for Fresno State offensive lineman Andrew Jackson, who was picked by the Falcons with their first selection of the seventh-round during last week's NFL Draft.

Jackson has heard the jokes all before and has become somewhat immune to them. One thing he probably won't just brush aside, however, are the very serious comparisons he's received to other offensive linemen in the league — namely New England star and former Fresno State lineman Logan Mankins.

Jackson received the comparison when he was recruited by Fresno State coach Pat Hill. Jackson compared favorably to Mankins because of his work ethic and rare intelligence when it came to football.

At 6-foot-5 and 299 pounds, Jackson also compared well to Mankins' 6-4, 310-pound frame. The only difference between the two is when they were drafted. Mankins was a first-round choice for the Patriots in 2005. Jackson lasted through Thursday, Friday and part of Saturday before the Falcons called his name in the seventh round.

Jackson won a slew of Western Athletic Conference awards during his college career, but an ankle injury is what can easily be attributed to his slide into the latter part of the Draft. He missed about half of Fresno State's season last year before returning in November.

His late selection, however, isn't an indication of Jackson's NFL potential. Jackson largely flew under the radar, despite being an Academic All-America first-team selection as a junior — the first Fresno State player to ever earn that honor. Jackson's smarts likely translate into an easily coachable addition to what is a developing group of young players on the Falcons' offensive line.

He'll join tackle Garrett Reynolds, guard Mike Johnson and center Joe Hawley as offensive linemen selected by the Falcons during the past three Drafts.

But that may not be the only place Jackson may be able to contribute for the Falcons. During his time at Fresno State, Jackson blocked three kicks on special teams.

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