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Eagles Breakout Candidate: Tyree Jackson

Tyree Jackson is a fascinating player.

A successful three-year starting quarterback in college at Buffalo (and briefly as a pro in the XFL), Jackson made the jump to tight end in his efforts to catch on in the NFL. Jackson is a larger-than-life figure (quite literally at 6’7″ and 250 lbs.) who has the potential to become a true threat in the right offense.

Could the revamped 2022 Philadelphia Eagles’ offense be that right opportunity? Could this be the year Jackson proves himself to be a viable NFL talent?

Let’s dig a litter deeper.

Tyree Jackson: Before The Big Leagues

As mentioned, Jackson made a name for himself as a quarterback. He was a four-year varsity starter at Mona Shores High School in Michigan where he passed for almost 4,500 yards and 50 touchdowns. His size and athleticism caught the attention of several colleges around the country, with Jackson eventually committing to play for the University at Buffalo.

Tyree Jackson redshirted his first year at Buffalo but went on to be a three-year starting quarterback. He showed significant improvement each year, culminating in a 2018 junior season that saw him throw for 3,131 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions at a 55.3% completion rate. He was able to use his big, strong, athletic frame to rush for 757 yards and 16 touchdowns during his college career as well. Seven of those touchdowns coming during his final, junior year.

During that epic junior campaign, Jackson was named MAC Offensive Player of the Year, leading Buffalo to a MAC East division title and a bowl game appearance. He earned an invite to the Senior Bowl, where he earned MVP honors while playing for the South team.

Despite a relatively successful college career, Jackson went undrafted after declaring for the NFL Draft following his junior year. However, as a big, strong, established quarterback capable of running a 4.59 40-yard dash, he of course drew some interest from several professional squads following the draft.

As A Pro

Tyree Jackson got one crack at earning a shot as an NFL quarterback after signing with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent. Despite passing and rushing for a touchdown during his preseason with the Bills (including one start), he was waived during final roster cuts.

Interestingly, Jackson would get one last shot at a (somewhat) professional career as a QB in the XFL. He was selected by the DC Defenders to backup former NFL backup Cardale Jones at quarterback during the 2020 XFL season. He played sparingly behind Jones, racking up 46 yards and touchdown through the air and 28 yards on the ground before the league shut down in April of 2020.

With his opportunities at quarterback dwindling, Tyree Jackson opted to make the transition to tight end, and was signed by the Eagles to a reserve/futures contract. After intensive offseason training with Naaman Roosevelt, Jackson immediately turned heads at training camp with his size, athleticism, and football IQ. He seemed destined to make the roster and earn some serious snaps, before tragically succumbing to a fractured bone in his back during the preseason.

Jackson eventually battled his way back from injury and began earning snaps and even his first NFL start. He caught his first NFL touchdown in the final game of the season, before once again falling victim to the injury bug, tearing his ACL and ending his season.

So much potential, held back by so much early-career adversity.

What’s Next?

Jackson underwent successful surgery in January to repair his torn ACL, and will be available at some point during 2022, whether it be during training camp or in the opening weeks of the regular season. The Eagles saw enough in his limited appearances to keep him around. That said, he will find himself in another crowded tight end room in 2022.

Jackson will be fighting for reps behind starter Dallas Goedert. He will have to beat out 24-year-old Jack Stoll, recently converted wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and rookie Grant Calcaterra. That said, he is the biggest and arguably most athletic tight end on the roster and brings a truly unique perspective to the position as a former college quarterback.

Providing a huge target for Jalen Hurts in bail-out or red-zone situations could be hugely beneficial for the young quarterback.

Honestly, and unfortunately, the biggest question mark around Jackson at this point is his health. Was 2021 just a stretch of bad luck for a young player? Or is he destined to take on the dreaded moniker of that of an “injury-prone” player? At this point in his young career, it is worth giving him the benefit of the doubt.

The Verdict

If he can shake the injury bug that shut down first campaign in Philly, Jackson absolutely has a great opportunity to earn the TE2 position behind Goedert and put up some solid numbers. Let’s think positively and assume this young man can stay healthy and cement himself as a legitimate NFL tight end talent.

So in conclusion, yes, Jackson is a legitimate breakout candidate for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022.

What do you think? Do you believe in Jackson’s potential? Is the recent string of injuries just too much of a concern? Will he fall behind rookie Calcaterra on the depth chart?

Let us know in the comments.

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