The Buffalo Bills got themselves a hometown hero in quarterback Tyree Jackson, but can he make their 53-man roster?
A 6-foot-7, 249-pound quarterback with a 4.59 second 40-yard-dash in the books with a rocket-launcher of an arm, Tyree Jackson was supposed to be drafted. But it didn’t work out that way, as teams passed on taking 254 times. After the draft, the University of Buffalo product signed with the Buffalo Bills; many thought this was a good consolation prize, he wouldn’t have to move, and the Bills have just two quarterbacks on the roster.
However, Jackson is far from a guarantee to make the opening day 53-man roster. Despite his stature, athleticism, and massive arm (14.3 yards per target, per Pro Football Focus), there is a fair share of concern relating to the quarterback.
Jackson was productive at Buffalo — passing for 6,992 yards and 49 touchdowns — but many labeled him as a developmental prospect, as NFL’s resident scout Lance Zierlein describes him:
Intriguing developmental quarterback who puts check marks in the ever-so-popular “size” and “arm talent” boxes. Jackson’s right arm is more shotgun than rifle with scattershot accuracy and a lack of touch that prevents him from finding a rhythm from the pocket. Jackson clearly has talent and his ability to make flash throws will be alluring to a team hoping to catch lightning in a bottle, but without sustainable accuracy, average backup could be his ceiling.
Improving Jackson’s accuracy can be done through coaching via fixing his undeveloped footwork and slower release, but the problem is the Bills aren’t favoring his development to others. Josh Allen is on the same boat as a developmental product and is the catalyst to a positive future. In turn, Jackson saw limited reps in organized team activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp.
Jackson is a developmental quarterback through-and-through. He’s a talented quarterback with excellent size and athleticism, but the Bills already have that in Allen. Behind their starter is Matt Barkley, a veteran earned the backup spot, so where does that put Jackson?
In all likelihood, Jackson will stick around. He’s a promising quarterback that should’ve heard his name called, but he’s going to have to fight for a roster spot as a third-stringer. The Bills knew they were getting a project in Jackson, but one with high-upside.
Final verdict: Considering that Matt Barkley’s contract runs up after two years and the team appears to side with strong-arm backups to Josh Allen, Tyree Jackson should stick around and develop. The Bills have rolled with two quarterbacks in recent years, but Jackson’s upside is worth adding a third spot. If the Buffalo product develops appropriately, the Bills could have themselves a suitable long-term backup to Allen.