by Paul Peck, Buffalo Sports Page
Tyree Jackson was one of the stars of the NFL Scouting Combine this weekend. Beyond Kyler Murray & Dwayne Haskins, there wasn’t a QB talked about more than the UB Bulls signalcaller.
But did his performance in Indianapolis, and the buzz it generated, help his draft stock? If it did, how much has he moved up team’s boards? How many rounds did he potentially move up in they eyes of NFL decision makers?
The answers are a bit complicated, and with any draft pick, open to 32 different teams varying evaluations. With his Pro Day at UB (March 13) still to come, and personal visits to teams holding a lot of weight in the process, no team has made a final decision about where they rank the six-foot-seven, 249 pound Michigan native.
But I believe he has emerged as one of the most intriguing QB prospects in the Draft. But even so, Tyree needs to understand how the NFL drafts quarterbacks.
He needs to think less about what round he’s drafted, and more about where he ranks among his fellow QB’s.
Is Tyree A Top Five QB?
I believe the goal for Jackson is to be among the top five quarterbacks drafted. Ignore the round he’s drafted in. Focus more on being in that top five.
If we safely assume that Murray, Haskins and Drew Lock (in whatever order) are the top three, then that leaves Jackson the chance to climb into spots four or five. He’s likely competing with Daniel Jones, Ryan Finley and Jarrett Stidham for those final two spots.
While those three prospects have big college resumes and experience, they don’t have Jackson’s size, talent and potential. Remember, despite all you hear about Murray and this new acceptance of smaller quarterbacks, the NFL is still mostly all about the measureables.
Who’s got the most physical talent? Who’s got the strongest arm? Who has the most potential?
You could argue that Jackson is the answer to all those questions.
I examined in January how the NFL drafts quarterbacks, and how that will impact a second-tier QB prospect like Jackson. So while Tyree could be one of the top five quarterbacks selected, that pick may not happen until the fourth round.
Those top three I mentioned may go in the first round. While it’s certainly possible that a team that loves Tyree could use a late first round pick on him, it seems unlikely right now.
So then where does he go? Only 4 quarterbacks have been taken in Round 2 the last five years. NFL teams focus on positions that con contribute right away in this round. A prospect QB isn’t that.
Only 7 QB’s have been selected in Round 3 the past five years. Same reason why.
So it’s possible that the fourth and fifth quarterbacks taken may not come until the third or fourth round.
That’s why the focus for Jackson needs to be where he ranks among fellow signal callers, and not what round he gets picked.
The Biggest Patriot?
I keep coming back to New England as team that makes sense for Jackson. They seem likely to draft a young QB, with only Brian Hoyer on the roster backing up Tom Brady. They have extra picks in the second and third rounds. Wouldn’t it make sense for them to break the trend and use one of those on a QB? How about one like Jackson, that they can groom for a few years?
Teams like the Saints, Chargers & Packers would also make sense for a project QB like Tyree. They wouldn’t need him to play right away, and can groom him behind their established veteran starters. Those teams would be more willing to make that pick outside of the first round.
Jackson has put himself into the conversation about quarterbacks in this draft. Now, his Pro Day and individual team meetings will determine how high he’ll be picked. He’s a smart kid, with a good personality and leadership skills. He should help himself in those meetings, and NFL veteran scouts will tell you they have the most impact on draft position.
So stay tuned for the next six weeks.