He won’t be supplanting Josh Allen any time soon, but Tyree Jackson brings some intriguing upside to the Buffalo Bills’ quarterback room.
In quarterback class that is not as good as the 2018 class that saw five first-round picks, there was buzz Tyree Jackson would be drafted earlier that expected. But he wound up not being drafted at all, and according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter the University of Buffalo product has signed with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent.
Jackson won MAC Offensive Player of the Year last season, as he threw for 3,131 yards with 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while adding seven more touchdowns on the ground. A 55.8 percent passer for his career at Buffalo, Jackson led MAC quarterbacks in average depth of target last season (13.8, via Pro Football Focus). He also led the country (FBS quarterbacks) in deep passing yards with 1,512.
Jackson (6-foot-7, 249 pounds), as could have been expected, was a standout at the NFL Combine. He ran a 4.59 40-yard dash, and stood out in the other track and field style events. But he is incredibly raw, and perhaps would’ve benefited from staying in college another year to recapture the passing accuracy he showed in 2017 (60.3 percent completion rate).
If Jackson’s traits sound similar to Josh Allen (6-foot-5, 237 pounds), who the Bills drafted seventh overall last year and is their quarterback of the present and future, there’s some more direct evidence.
When Allen missed time last season with an elbow injury, the Bills turned to Nathan Peterman (two starts), Derek Anderson (two starts) and Matt Barkley (one start). Peterman is gone, but Anderson was re-signed and Barkley was given a two-year contract extension during the offseason to theoretically be Allen’s backup. Anderson was already hardly guaranteed to make the 53-man roster, and Jackson’s presence won’t help his chances.
The Bills are clearly committed to Allen as their starting quarterback, unless or until a change is forced on them one way or another. Jackson is essentially a developmental prospect at this point, but he should compete for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart immediately and he adds some intrigue and upside to the mix beyond Allen.