Why Undrafted?: Tyree Jackson

Why Undrafted?: Tyree Jackson, QB, Buffalo
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Five years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Three years ago, we started the Why the Slide? series, and this year it is back. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

One quarterback who got some media hype late in the 2018 season and leading up to the all-star games was Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson. Jackson should have returned for his senior year, but he decided to make the jump to the NFL and was fortunate to still be invited to play in the Senior Bowl. In 2018, Jackson completed 55 percent of his passes for 3,131 yards with 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. In Mobile, the 6-foot-7, 249-pounder showed a powerful arm with big size but had accuracy issues. While Jackson showed some athleticism at the combine, he went undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft, and that was surprising to many college football fans.

Team sources say there were a few reasons why Jackson went undrafted. The biggest reasons were his inaccuracy and mechanics as a passer. Here’s how one team’s college director put it, “6-foot-7 quarterbacks don’t really work out in the league. He’s mechanically broken where his long arms and legs create too much room for error in his throwing motion – his head moves too much -, similar issues to Brock Osweiler.” Teams also felt that Jackson was immature, and they did not see the leadership qualities they want out of a quarterback. They felt that he had a “silly teenager-like vibe.”

After going undrafted, Jackson was signed by the Buffalo Bills, which was a good landing spot for him. Buffalo has its long-term franchise quarterback in second-year pro Josh Allen. But Allen is a giant signal-caller who entered the league needing to improve his accuracy and mechanics. Thus, the Bills know what they are taking on with Jackson and are willing to work with it. Buffalo has some veteran backup competition in the form of Matt Barkley and Derek Anderson, but the team isn’t married to either of those veterans, and if Jackson shows well in the preseason, the team wouldn’t hesitate to ditch one of those veterans to keep Jackson on the roster. Jackson has an excellent opportunity to earn a backup job in the NFL, and from there, it will be up to him to show he is capable of being more than a backup.

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