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2019 NFL Draft Profile: Tyree Jackson, QB, Buffalo

The tallest QB in this class brings a powerful arm to the next level.

MAC Championship - Buffalo v Northern Illinois Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Tyree Jackson is tall. That is no secret.

The 6’7” quarterback is a week away from tying current free agent quarterback Brock Osweiler for the tallest of his position in the NFL. Jackson has been a captivating prospect for many NFL teams due to his 6’7”, 249-pound frame, which is reminiscent of one of the reasons Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen shot up on draft boards a year ago.

More importantly, he’s molding into a talented quarterback.

One of Jackson’s greatest assets, which will propel him farther in this journey, is his arm strength. The Northern Shores, MI native is equipped with an absolute cannon of an arm, which he frequently utilized on deep passes at Buffalo. Not many quarterbacks in the country targeted more 20+ yard passes than “MACtion Jackson.” Additionally, he completes passes with high velocity and is capable of releasing bullet passes in an instant.

Jackson won the 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl Offensive MVP for the South team, throwing for 165 yards and two touchdowns on 13-on-21 passing. His effective deep ball was on full display while competing against some of the top defenders from the 2019 draft class, averaging 12.7 yards per completion in the all-star game.

But the Senior Bowl showing wasn’t Jackson’s only highlight of his 2018 season. After suffering a knee injury and missing a good portion of 2017, Jackson returned fully healthy to lead Buffalo to its most successful season in FBS history — a 10-4 record and a MAC East title. Jackson claimed MAC Offensive Player of the Year honors by passing for 3,131 yards and 28 touchdowns, rushing for an additional seven.

Arm strength is high on the list of Jackson’s skills, but the former Buffalo quarterback also has a great knack for extending plays. He was formerly a successful mobile quarterback, pre-knee injury, where he ran for 596 yards and six touchdowns on 146 attempts as a freshman and sophomore.

Post-injury, Jackson became a better decision maker in the pocket which improved his passing. He took one sack in the first seven games of 2018, a period in which Buffalo posted a 6-1 record. Even though Jackson remains more in the pocket now, he still retains sharp scrambling abilities, where he can avoid pass rushers to piece together masterpieces like this.

One of the few downsides to his game is his inaccuracy. He finished his career with a 55.8 percent completion rate and misfires on several throws a game. It is important to take into consideration how often he targets difficult, downfield throws though. Jackson’s final season as a Bull featured 12 interceptions, and he’s no stranger to high-risk, high-reward play.

Jackson is one of the most athletic quarterbacks we’ve seen in recent draft classes. He ran a rapid 4.59 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis which was second among participating quarterbacks to Penn State’s Trace McSorley. His vertical jump of 34.5 inches ranked highest at the position, and his broad jump of 10 feet tied Duke’s Daniel Jones for first place among quarterbacks. Jackson also placed top-five times in the 20-yard shuttle and 3-cone drill. Overall, his Combine performance significantly escalated his stock.

After his remarkable junior season at Buffalo, Jackson was faced with a tough decision. He entered the transfer portal with possible intentions to finish his career as a grad transfer at another school. But on January 6, he declared for the NFL Draft in an Instagram post, excited to capitalize on his lifelong dream of playing at the professional level. The start of that dream will occur in this draft, most likely in the early portion on Saturday (day 3). Jackson is a perfect pickup for an instant backup quarterback, and he exhibits qualities of the Bills’ Josh Allen and the Chargers’ Cardale Jones.

He’s a talented athlete and is still developing as a quarterback, but he is a project that many teams should take. Quarterbacks often are selected higher than projected due to the high demand of the position and their perceived value in the league. Jackson should fall in the fourth or fifth round to a team in need of a reliable backup, such as the Buccaneers, Falcons, or Dolphins.