5. Tyree Jackson (RS-Jr.) – Buffalo
Height: 6’7 Weight: 245 lbs
Career Stats: 32 GP, 6,999 passing yards, 49 TDs, 24 INTs, 55.8 comp %
Player Comparison: EJ Manuel
Projected Round(s): 2-4
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Nate, you’re from Buffalo, no one else has Jackson even close to fifth on their quarterback big boards. You’re a quack.” Maybe there’s some truth to that line of thinking but, when ranking my top five quarterbacks this year, I wanted to do it based on where I believe each guy will come off the board. Do I think Boise’s Brett Rypien belongs higher than Jackson? Maybe. West Virginia’s Will Grier? Probably. But I truly believe that when it’s all said and done, Jackson will go higher than both guys because of his upside. After Jackson gets in front of scouts at the NFL Combine and they get a peak at his 6’7 frame, his 40-yard dash time and laser rocket arm, scouts and GMs are going to be racing to figure out a way to fit him into their big boards. When you look at Jackson statistically, he’s not going to blow you away. But much like Josh Allen, he won’t be drafted based on what he did; he’ll be drafted based on what NFL coaches think they can coach into him. It’s my primary reason for his fifth overall ranking in the class.
Like his NFL comparison, Jackson is going to benefit from a lackluster 2019 quarterback class. A lot of folks (myself included) thought Jackson needed another year of seasoning at the college level. His name was floated in the transfer portal for a few weeks, and I truly believed a year at Wisconsin (see Russell Wilson) or Auburn might have gotten him drafted higher in 2020. But I think he and his family took one look at the class and saw an opportunity to strike with the iron hot. He certainly did himself a few favors with his Senior Bowl performance (13-21, 166 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT and MVP of the South Team), and I expect his stock will continue to rise the closer we get to draft day.
What They’re Saying:
”Jackson presents some fascinating tools that make him a desirable developmental passer. Jackson has a big-time arm, some two-way athleticism and prototypical size to play in the NFL. That said, Jackson’s mechanics often cause high variance in his accuracy and he’s not polished with his decision making, he requires notable coaching and nurturing before he’s asked to start.”
– Kyle Crabbs (The Draft Network)
“Jackson has the measurables that NFL teams covet and he has plenty of tape on file. With a strong showing at his pro day and the NFL Combine, Jackson could easily be in the conversation for QB1 come draft day. This is, after all, considered to be an overall weaker quarterback class. However, that never seems to stop NFL teams from drafting a quarterback high.”
– Ben Kercheval (CBS Sports)
Jackson has always had a sort of funky release. In his three years starting at UB, that release has sure come a long way, but he’ll still have a lot of work to do. Working with Jordan Palmer this offseason was step one in showing scouts he is capable of self-evaluating and understanding where the flaws in his game are. The kid has an absolute cannon for an arm and can throw guys open downfield. With the NFL moving toward more downfield passing attacks, Jackson will be a player coaches around the league think they’ll be able to mold. His decision making, especially outside the pocket, can be maddening. His questionable understanding of when to tuck it and run or remain a passer was on full display in the MAC Championship game against Northern Illinois and eventually cost his team an opportunity to win at the end. He also played in front of one of the nation’s top offensive lines and played with Anthony Johnson and a trio of very good running backs in 2018, so he’s used to playing with some NFL talent. My biggest question will be whether Jackson can shore up some of his throwing mechanics enough to be better in the short and intermediate game to become a starting quarterback. If he has an opportunity to sit for a year or two and learn from a veteran – the Chargers strike me as a perfect situation – I think he’ll have a chance to reach, or at the very least come close to, the ceiling many people believe he possesses.
Oooohhhhh Tyree Jackson has got that good good arm. pic.twitter.com/7kwuNJQ3D9
— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) July 3, 2018
This is a great example of Jackson’s ridiculous arm strength and deep ball accuracy. One of the many things that will stick out in any game of Jackson’s is his ability to stretch the field and throw into a bucket. This is another good example of his major weakness: that throwing motion. It’s elongated but didn’t hurt him in college like it will in timing- and rhythm-based offenses in the NFL.
Tyree Jackson: confirmed zip pic.twitter.com/F0FmYTHo7T
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) January 24, 2019
One of Jackson’s most impressive traits is arm strength. As represented in the video above, having the arm strength to throw into tight windows or a willingness to throw guys open is paramount to a successful career in the NFL. He hasn’t always displayed a level of comfort throwing with anticipation, and I believe Kyle Crabbs (the Draft Network) said it best: “Is more of a visual passer, he prefers to see uncovered receivers, and as a result he’s late throwing a lot of outs, corners, curls, etc.”
Not gonna lie, before watching him, I just assumed that Tyree Jackson was just a big arm and would be inaccurate and have no feel for the QB position. I was wrong. pic.twitter.com/bWAq2L3FCr
— Steven Ruiz (@theStevenRuiz) January 22, 2019
Ah yes, displaying an ability to throw “the Geary” back shoulder throw will get you recognized very quickly.
.@UBFootball's Tyree Jackson back to @WVUfootball's @_gman12 for the TD 💪
North still leads 20-18 in the 4th
📺: @seniorbowl only on NFL Network pic.twitter.com/ba73aYME0m
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 26, 2019
Another example of Jackson’s rare throwing ability. The kid can absolutely sling it.