Tyree Jackson, QB
School: Buffalo | Conference: Mid-American
Experience: RS Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-7 / 249 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Round 3-4
NFL Comparison: Paxton Lynch
Jackson came to Buffalo after as a highly accomplished high school quarterback who finished his HS career in the top five in state history in career touchdown passes, completions, and passing yards in the state of Michigan. Still, just a 3-star prospect, he chose Buffalo. He red-shirted in 2015, Jackson began the 2016 season as a back-up to Iowa State transfer Grant Rohach, before taking over for the injured Rohach. Helped by the arrival of receiver Anthony Johnson (a JUCO transfer from Iowa Western CC), Jackson had a breakout season in 2017, though injuries caused him to miss four contests.
After the 2018 season, Jackson had announced he was looking to become a graduate transfer, but then changed his mind and announced he was declaring for the NFL draft. He was quickly was added to the Senior Bowl roster, even though Jim Nagy had already accepted eight other quarterbacks for the post-season all-star event.
The @seniorbowl is excited to announce the addition of @UBFootball junior grad QB #3 Tyree Jackson to the South team. We didn’t anticipate Jackson coming out but our goal will always be to add the best prospects. Buffalo WR Anthony Johnson will move to the South squad as well. pic.twitter.com/s9wIuawyum— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) January 13, 2019
At the Senior Bowl, Jackson measured 6-foot-7 and 249 pounds, looking like an NBA forward. Jackson also measured with 10-inch hands (Anything over 9 1/2 inches is considered large for a QB), with a 35-inch arm length, and an 82 ½-inch wingspan.
Last spring Jackson was timed in the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds last spring. At 6-5 and 250, Cam Newton, ran 4.56.
Jackson’s measurements are nearly identical to Paxton Lynch, whose height placed him in the 98th percentile, weight was in the 96th percentile, with 94th percentile arm length, and 90th percentile hand size (per mockdraftable.com).
Here is the Jackson at the Senior Bowl, where he was the games leading passer in attempts, completions, yards, and passing touchdowns.
Tyree Jackson led the nation in deep passing yards last season – and he gave fans a little taste of that arm strength yesterday at the @seniorbowlpic.twitter.com/a3Am8HPxNt— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 27, 2019
You just need to coach this out of him.
Tyree Jackson at the Senior Bowl is identical to his Buffalo tape. Full of wow throws deep, unstoppable on slants, and has some mobility. mechanics need overhaul, decision making needs to improve. pic.twitter.com/TuSd9DKDkm— Durst (@DurstNFLDraft) January 26, 2019
I became interested in Jackson over the holidays when I watched the Dollar General Bowl, a game Buffalo lost 42-32 to Troy. After that, I watched draftbreakdown style cut-ups from nine of his games.
Jackson’s arm strength is that of an NFL starter.
Here, Jackson slightly overthrows his receiver. Threw it 60 yards in the air when he needed 59. Arm ARM STRENGTH box pic.twitter.com/AWPgKHXgnf— Durst (@DurstNFLDraft) January 20, 2019
Very nice deep out by Tyree Jackson. This is an NFL level throw. pic.twitter.com/nStPzc8Jd0— Durst (@DurstNFLDraft) January 20, 2019
He loves to roll out to his right.
Tyree Jackson loves to roll out to his right when he feels pressure. Often this is the result. 55 yards in the air. pic.twitter.com/YUj8n4YECC— Durst (@DurstNFLDraft) January 20, 2019
However, at this point, his physical abilities are ahead of his decision making.
Another questionable decision by Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson. pic.twitter.com/Qd8C5MAsii— Durst (@DurstNFLDraft) January 20, 2019
A microcosm if Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson. Some ability to extend plays with his legs and a big arm but this play started on the 4yard line before TJ backed up to around the 27 yard line. pic.twitter.com/smmA1fn74c— Durst (@DurstNFLDraft) January 19, 2019
Three Senior Bowl players on this play. Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson attempting a pass to WR Anthony Johnson but Temple CB Rock Ya Sin makes the pick in the end-zone and took it to the house (return called back for holding). pic.twitter.com/MyoVkoZruQ— Durst (@DurstNFLDraft) January 20, 2019
Jackson is not afraid to make tight window throws...
Tyree Jackson willing to throw into tight windows pic.twitter.com/4UIKlBuQzd— Durst (@DurstNFLDraft) January 20, 2019
...but at times, he shows too much confidence in his arm.
At time Tyree Jackson may have too much confidence in his arm strength. pic.twitter.com/0t5Hv9V25O— Durst (@DurstNFLDraft) January 20, 2019
He needs to learn to protect the ball better when scrambling. He had multiple fumbles.
A long strider, Tyree Jackson is fast in a straight line but not very elusive. He needs to do a better job at protecting the ball when running and seems to fumble in every game I have watched. pic.twitter.com/090AhAe0To— Durst (@DurstNFLDraft) January 20, 2019
Lastly, I have some concerns about his mechanics
I’m not a QB mechanics guru but this right leg kick out in follow through looks kind of quirky and show up ALL the time. pic.twitter.com/ixbFme3SBP— Durst (@DurstNFLDraft) January 20, 2019
- Size. Height, weight, arm length, hand size. Jackson is huge.
- He has a big arm and can throw on the move. I think his arm strength may be second only to Drew Lock in this draft class.
- Willingness to test coverages, attempt tight window throws, and throw 50-50 balls.
- Height allows him to easily see over the line when in the pocket, and he keeps eyes down field when he leaves the pocket.
- Attacks the defense across all areas the field, including and especially as a perimeter thrower.
- Probably needed one last season in college.
- Didn’t really play in “big games” or against top competition.
- Career and 2018 season completion percentage was just over 55%.
- Mechanics look a bit quirky. A byproduct of his size, and long arms is that Jackson has a little bit of an elongated delivery.
- Ball security, both on throws and runs, needs to improve.
- Needs to improve the speed of his mental processing.
- Confidence in his arm can get him into trouble.
Some may wonder why a 6’7, 250 pound QB wouldn’t get a 10 out of 10 here, but keep in mind, the list of NFL quarterbacks taller than 6’6 that have had success in the NFL is quite small. In fact, depending on how you define success, you could say we are still waiting. Jackson is towering presence, who will immediately be one of the biggest signal callers in NFL history.
Jackson can be pretty scatter-shot with his accuracy (55.3 completion percentage last season), but the Buffalo Bulls’ scheme takes a lot a shots down the field and his receivers do not get a lot of separation. Even Buffalo’s NFL prospect, Anthony Johnson is more of a contested catch receiver.
Dangerous when leaving the pocket, but his accuracy declines, showing he has room for improvement. He loves to roll out to his right but tends to throw high when moving to his left.
He is mostly pinpoint on slant routes, but ball placement on easy throws to running-back or tight-end targets was erratic and didn’t always allow his receiver to catch the ball in stride or gain yards after the catch.
Arm Strength: 13/15
Jackson has one of the strongest arms in this draft class, but he needs to dial it down a notch on some of the short stuff. Jackson will usually step into his throws and drive the ball with pretty good velocity, but needs to dial it down on shorter throws, where there were many examples of receivers (even star receiver Anthony Johnson) not being able to handle the fastball, which lead tip drill interceptions.
While he is no Lamar Jackson, Tyree Jackson is surprisingly mobile for such a big man. However, his speed is more apparent when running in a straight line than when changing directions. What differentiates him is the rare foot quickness and overall athleticism he possesses for his size.
Processing Speed: 11/15
I have seen examples where he will look off a safety and move on to secondary targets. He does a great job of keeping his eyes downfield when leaving the pocket. However, Jackson doesn’t always throw with great anticipation or win from the pocket. It will likely require much work to get up to NFL standards when it comes to reading defenses. He needs to improve what NFL films’ Greg Cosell calls “the ability to eliminate and isolate”. To quickly eliminate what is NOT there (what the defense has taken away) and isolate what IS there “within the timing of the pass drop and the route concept”.
His release has a slight wind-up, but the ball almost always comes out cleanly with a tight spiral. While his mechanics certainly need work, I think his extraordinarily long arms make his delivery appear worse than it is. He also has an exaggerated thing he does where his back leg kicks out laterally during his follow through.
It is difficult to dig up much about leadership with small school programs, but Jackson sounds like a mature and driven individual.
Buffalo lost it’s final two games of the season (MAC championship game and Buffalo’s bowl game), and while it’s a team game, Jackson himself made costly turnovers, took too many sacks, and was not able to will his team to victory in the teams two biggest games.
What’s more, Jackson did not afford him a “signature moment” against at college football juggernaut. While Dwayne Haskins slayed the Lions of Penn State, and destroyed the Wolverines of Michigan, Drew Lock played against SEC defenses like Georgia and Alabama, and even Daniel Jones got to play against Clemson and a variety of ACC pass rushers, the University of Buffalo did not face such difficulty challenges.
What Others Are Saying
Last summer, Jackson spent four days at the Manning Passing Academy in July, where he soaked up information from Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning and former NFL coach Mike Shanahan. He also worked out with quarterback guru Jordan Palmer (the younger brother of Carson Palmer, who have carved out a career preparing college QBs for the NFL).
”The first takeaway is that he’s a really solid human being,” Palmer said. “He’s really humble, likable, smiles, he’s smart. Those are the first things I look at. I don’t really care about size. We just had Baker Mayfield, a 6-foot walk-on win the Heisman and go No. 1 overall. The days where you have to be 6-foot-4, 220, I don’t think you have to be that anymore. The mechanics are really good,” Palmer said. “This is the year to just go play, don’t overthink anything and figure out ways to win. In a nutshell, get good at winning. That may sound dumb, like, of course, every quarterback is trained to win. But no, what I’m saying is don’t worry about anything but winning, by any means necessary.”
How Would He Fit On The Redskins ?
When Alex Smith suffered a season-ending injury, and the lingering concern that it could be career ending at his age, the Redskins are going to have to invest in a new quarterback at some point during the next two years.
While many fans are underwhelmed with this 2019 draft class, and would prefer to wait and select one from the promising 2020 class, the contrarian option would be to find a developmental prospect this year.
The three traits that stand out with Jackson are his size, arm strength, and movement skills. He can easily see over his lineman. He can stretch the field both vertically and horizontally with the ability to throw deep and to the sideline. He can also extend the play with his legs, but needs to do a better job taking care of the ball when scrambling.
His 2018 and career completion percentages sit at just over 55%, and his supporting cast was better than what Josh Allen (56%) had at Wyoming. That being said, Jackson completes a pretty high percentage of “big time” throws (i.e. down the field and tight window throws). He is also deadly on quick slants. Like with Allen at Wyoming, there were few wide open targets when watching the University of Buffalo offense, and Jackson’s stats were not padded with bubble screens, jet sweeps, or throwing into the the flats.
Jackson’s Senior Bowl performance confirmed what I saw on film. He will take some deep shots that will make you say wow and can pick you apart on short slants, but the concerns I had about his mechanics and decision making continued in Mobile.
Overall, Jackson seems like the kind of “toolsy” quarterback prospect NFL teams historically have taken a chance on early, and top-50 pick is not out of the question. To me, he profiles more like someone who gets drafted early and becomes a bust, rather than a day three hidden gym. While we can all used hindsight to argue these guys were overdrafted, Jackson’s talent looks equal to or better than any of the likes of Jake Locker, Blake Bortles, EJ Manuel, David Carr, Colin Kaepernick, and Paxton Lynch. In fact, I feel Jackson’s frame and his movements resemble Lynch the most. HERE is Lynch when he was at Memphis.
In the end, Jackson is probably not a good fit for Washington. It would be great to see him sit behind someone like Phillip Rivers for two years. I also think he could be a good fit in Bruce Arians’s scheme, where quarterbacks are asked to deliver a lot of down the field throws, and having a contingency plan is important given Jameis Winston’s unreliability on and off the field. His frame and skill set might also make him a great back-up (spot starter) to the frequently injured Cam Newton.