Name: Andrew Jackson (7th round, 210)
Size: 6-5, 297
College: Fresno State
His production: He missed nine games last season with an ankle injury. He played in only three games and the East-West Shrine Game. He was an all-WAC pick and first team all-Academic All-American as a junior. He was on the line that helped pave the way for running back Ryan Matthews, who led the nation in rushing in 2009.
The skinny: He was the 15th rated guard in the draft by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper. “Might even become a starter for a gritty, try-hard offensive line such as that of the Falcons, Patriots or Chiefs,” wrote Nolan Nawrocki in Pro Football Weekly’s 2011 draft preview.
INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW JACKSON TODAY
ON WHEN GOT THE CALL: “I was walking around with some friends at an outdoor market. We got in the truck to head home and I got the call. I was just excited as heck about it.”
ON HIS ANKLE INJURY: “It’s fully recovered. It was a high ankle sprain. I tried to come back. I begged and pleaded with the coaches to let me give it a try. They did and it was too early. So, then we waited until the bowl game and unfortunately it took that long. But that’s what it took to get 100 percent.”
ON THE COMBINE: “It went pretty well. I thought it was good. I had a good feeling after the combine.”
ON IF HE THOUGHT THE FALCONS WERE INTERESTED: “I really didn’t know. I talked with the scouts and I hadn’t heard from them. It was a surprise.”
ON HELPING RYAN MATTHEWS LEAD THE NATION IN RUSHING IN 2009: “At Fresno State, we hang our hat on power. We hang our hat on running the ball and pounded the rock. Blocking for Ryan Matthews was awesome. He’s a very talented athlete. Being able to block for somebody like that was a lot of fun. It was really exciting and made us push harder and harder. That’s kind of the background and style that I come from.”
ON WHERE HE’D LIKE TO PLAY: “Guard or Center. I’ve been a backup center at Fresno State. I’ve never had to be used in a game. I don’t have any game experience, but I have practiced it a lot.”
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog