Raw is the first word that comes to mind when you watch Tyree Jackson play. In many ways he’s the opposite of someone like Brett Rypien in this class. Where the Boise State Broncos QB uses his eyes to win, but lacks the exciting physical tools NFL teams are looking for. Jackson’s mechanics are questionable, but he’s 6’7, 250 lbs, and has the kind of arm that makes your jaw drop. He completed just 55.8% of his passes for 6,999 yards, 49 touchdowns and 12 interceptions through his collegiate career.
When Jackson finished his junior season he put his name into the transfer pool, but then changed his mind and declared for the draft. He the kind of promising talent you grab in the middle to late rounds of the draft and stash on the roster for a couple years in hopes that pro coaching will tie all of his best traits together and provide you a starting Quarterback.
-Looks the part.
-Faster than anticipated.
-Works through progressions to find the open guy.
-Can make throws from multiple arm angles.
-Moves well in the pocket.
-Can improvise with the best of them.
-Eyes can be slow.
-He’s a see it, throw it kind of QB.
-Inaccurate in every sense of the word. Mechanics need a complete overhaul.
-Trust in his arm can lose him plays as easily as it wins. Decision making is questionable.
What I’ve heard/read
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NFL comparison: Colin Kaepernick
Jackson measured in as the biggest quarterback in combine history and had one of the most athletic showings ever at that position. Kaepernick was no slouch athletically either, and while he’s not quite as big as Jackson, he was listed just under 6-5 and 233 pounds as he entered the league in 2011. In college, Kap repeatedly threw fastballs all over the field. That’s Jackson too. Kap was probably a little more accurate on short passes than Jackson, but the Buffalo product is more competent stretching defenses deep. Kaepernick was “projecty” and so is Jackson. Like Kap, in the NFL Jackson will need to get faster going through his reads and calmer staying inside the pocket.
You could easily make the case Jackson is a more exciting pro prospect than Allen was, whether you’re basing it on numbers, size, or speed.
In the modern history of the NFL Combine (going back to 2000), just five QBs have measured in at 6’7. Nobody’s been taller than that. Jackson is one of the 6’7 guys, along with a list of super tall dudes that probably will not inspire you: Ryan Mallet, Mike Glennon, Paxton Lynch, and Brock Osweiler. But none of those guys were great athletes.
Tyree doesn’t have much artistry about him as a thrower, to be honest. He is a willing full-field reader, it’s true. But in actuality he slowly looks from one guy to the next until someone is obviously open, and then he heaves it like a Game of Thrones giant throws a boulder. Jackson was often late on throws in college despite plus-plus velocity. And it’s because he’s the anti-Dwayne Haskins in terms of anticipation.
Tyree also is a mechanical mess. It’s like his upper half and lower half don’t get along, and his arm wants all the glory. His throws tend to sail. And when things start going south for him, they really go south, more so than maybe with any other quarterback in the class. He’ll go through long stretches where he looks like Nuke LaLoosh, where balls are flying into the press box and injuring spectators.
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.
Jackson has all the size, arm talent and athletic ability you could ever want in a quarterback prospect. While those traits lead to some jaw-dropping plays, those peaks are quickly erased by erratic ball placement, inconsistent mechanics and wild decisions with the football. His physical traits alone make Jackson a worthy investment but patience will be required before he can suit up on a Sunday and run an NFL offense. His deficiencies have proven to be extremely difficult for other toolsy prospects like Jackson to overcome but Jackson does have impressive intangibles and drive to develop.
Why he fits
If you take a step into a time machine with me for just a minute, we’ll go back to the 2016 Spring. Peyton Manning just retired and Brock Osweiler signed with the Houston Texans. John Elway is in talks with the San Francisco 49ers to acquire Colin Kaepernick to pilot Gary Kubiak’s offense. This was before he decided to protest police brutality and the controversy surrounding his actions during the National Anthem. At this moment in time Elway saw a mobile, strong armed quarterback who fit the Broncos offense.
Tyree Jackson possesses many of the same tools Kaepernick once did. He’s very tall, very fast, and probably has the best pure arm strength in this class. The Rich Scangarello offense looks like a direct descendant of the Gary Kubiak system, so Jackson offers a strong scheme fit.
Why he doesn’t
Numerous analytics and studies have proven that accuracy is nigh impossible to improve, and Jackson lacks it in every sense of the word. He’s never completed better than 60.3% of his passes and beyond that his ball placement is lacking, even on the throws he does complete. To be successful he will need to completely relearn the position from a mechanical sense, and even then it’s no sure thing he won’t revert back to his old form in live action.
He’s the kind of quarterback who’s highlight reel will sell you on him as a future Hall of Famer if only he can find the right coach. He’s also the kind of quarterback who’s full game tape reveals a player who may be nothing more than a bad backup. If the Broncos are looking for a Day 3 stash and develop prospect, there are few better than Tyree Jackson. The problem is his tools are promising enough that he’ll probably be overdrafted on upside alone.
I wouldn’t take Jackson in the fourth round, but the farther Day 3 goes the more tantalizing his potential becomes.