Philadelphia Eagles: The reintroduction of Tyree Jackson

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

In college, Tyree Jackson was a beast.

A native son of Norton Shores, Michigan, Jackson took his talents to the University of Buffalo over comparable offers from a slew of Michigan-based MAC teams – Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan – coming out of high school, and turned in three quality seasons before taking his talents to the NFL-level.

Measuring in at 6-foot-7, 245 pounds, Jackson was a big, powerful touchdown machine who could truck through linebackers and attack the red zone better than seemingly any other player the Mid-American Conference had to offer from 2016-18. He amassed 6,999 yards and 49(!) touchdowns in 32 contests and is arguably the biggest reason why the Bulls went from 2-10 in his first season on the field to a 10-4 record and a Dollar General Bowl appearance versus Troy under their belts.

Surely for fans in the greater Buffalo area, there wasn’t a better ticket in town than Tyree Jackson’s Bulls, as the Bills were meddling in the pre-Josh Allen hype-era. But now? Now Jackson is trying to make an impression on your friendly neighborhood Philadelphia Eagles; only he’s attempting to do so as a converted tight end instead of a supersized quarterback.

Allow Tyree Jackson to introduce himself, Philadelphia Eagles fans.

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Tyree Jackson is entering his third year as a professional football player.

After failing to hear his name called in the 2019 NFL Draft, Jackson signed on with his adopted hometown Buffalo Bills in the hopes of securing a long-term developmental role behind Josh Allen and former Philadelphia Eagles’ fourth-round draftee Matt Barkley.

That didn’t end well. Despite showing glimpses of potential during the preseason, Jackson swiftly caught on with the DC Defenders of the plucky (re)upstart XFL, being selected in the ninth round of their (re)inaugural draft to serve as a backup for once Ohio State standout Cardale Jones.

Did Jackon shine in the XFL? No. He went 11-18 for 46 yards and a touchdown as a passer and picked up 28 more yards on the ground as a runner, but almost all of his stats came as either an injury replacement or in blowout situations.

But hey, it’s cool; clearly, Howie Roseman saw something in Jackson, maybe at Buffalo, maybe at the other Buffalo, or maybe in DC that piqued his interest to the point where he extended a future contract to the still-only-23-year-old in an attempt to relaunch his NFL career, only, this time, as a supersized tight end.

What on earth could go wrong?

In recent years, the concept of taking a bigger-bodied athlete at a different offensive position, be that wide receiver or quarterback, and transitioning them to tight end has been many a GM’s white whale. The Las Vegas Raiders did it with once-Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Darren Waller, as did the Washington *still nameless* Football Team with Logan Thomas, and ever since, Howie Roseman has been scouring the league for a project to show his NFL IQ as well.

Could Jackson be the guy? Well, he certainly lasted longer than Tyrone Swoopes, another college quarterback who spend time with the Birds in 2020, but if recent reports from training camp are of any indication, it’s a story worth watching for sure.

Sure, we’re less than a week into camp, and the “hard part” hasn’t even started yet, but a day doesn’t go by where Jackson’s name isn’t mentioned among the on-field standouts if for no other reason than his massive size and willingness to grind along at his new position. Count Zach Ertz among Jackson’s supporters, as the recently returned three-time Pro Bowler has reportedly been coaching his younger foil up on the intricacies of route running and getting release off the line of scrimmage.

Richard Rodgers take note; Tyree Jackson might just be coming for your job.

Next. Keeping Zach Ertz is the right move. dark

Could Tyree Jackson shock the world, blow up opposing safeties at the team’s joint practices and play a very real role for the Philadelphia Eagles this fall? You know what? Yes, yes he could. As Howie Roseman has shown over the years, the Eagles are completely willing to use bottom-of-the-roster spots on exciting young prospects who could become contributors down the line – see Mailata, Jordan – and you don’t get more exciting than a 6-foot-7 tight end with 4.59 speed and a massive trick play potential. Who knows, one day Jackson, not Dallas Goedert, will be considered the Eagles’ top tight end. I mean, probably not, but at this point of the summer, anything is possible.