One Buffalo: Bills sign two former Bulls
Tyree Jackson and Cameron Lewis head to One Bills Drive as UDFAs
Just minutes after the end of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills signed UB’s quarterback Tyree Jackson as an undrafted free agent.
The quarterback who played his college ball just 20 minutes away from One Bills Drive, will now have a chance to compete for the No.-2 quarterback job behind Josh Allen.
Jackson was a three-year starter for the Bulls after redshirting his freshman season. He threw for 1,772 yards and 9 touchdowns while completing 53.1% of his passes in his first season with Buffalo. Jackson dealt with injuries his sophomore season in 2017 but came back better than ever in 2018.
This past season, Jackson led the Bulls to a program-record 10 wins and was named the Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He started all 14 games, passing for 3,131 yards, 28 touchdowns and only throwing 12 interceptions. Jackson emerged as a threat on the ground with 7 touchdowns rushing as well.
“Man, good news travels fast,” said Bills general manager Brandon Beane. “We’re still working on it. It’s not finalized, but we do have an agreement in place. We have to get him in here and pass a physical, but we’re excited to have Tyree if it all works out.”
Jackson, in 32 career games, completed 533 of 955 passes for 6,999 yards with 49 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.
Jackson wowed at the NFL Combine with his elite combination of size and athleticism. Jackson was the tallest QB in this year’s class at 6 feet 7 inches and ranked toward the top in the 40-yard dash (4.59 seconds), vertical jump (34.5 inches) and broad jump (120.0 inches).
“The first thing you look at is the size. I truly thought he would be drafted,” Beane said. “He was on our draft board to be drafted. I’m surprised that we saw his name still sitting there late in the seventh. I thought, ‘Man if this kid doesn’t get drafted we’re going to have to go after him.’ He’s got a strong arm and some mobility. He’s shown improvement through the year. He played at the Senior Bowl and it wasn’t too big for him. I think he’s still an ascending player.”
Leading up to the draft, Jackson has been working with Jordan Palmer, the same quarterback coach that Bills quarterback Josh Allen works with.
“Josh had been around him out in California working with Jordan, and Josh really likes him,” Beane said. “He even let him stay at his house a bit when he was here. It’ll be a natural fit. It’s exciting for Sean and I. We really love the UB program and what we’re doing. It’s cool even though we didn’t draft one to be able to bring him here.”
Allen and Jackson have the most similar Combine measurements and Allen was Jackson’s closest physical comparison, according to Pro Football Focus.
But Jackson isn’t the only Bull heading to Orchard Park.
The Bills signed cornerback Cam Lewis as an undrafted free agent as well.
Lewis started every game for Buffalo this season and had 23 tackles with three interceptions and six pass breakups. In his career, he had 117 tackles, five interceptions and 22 pass breakups.
“I’ll just say that we think he has some nickel ability so if we’re fortunate enough to add them to our team, then it will be good to have another UB guy,” Beane said. “We told you earlier we love the UB program and if we can find some fits here, we think that’s a cool little stepping ground for them and for us.”
Nathaniel Mendelson is the senior sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @NateMendelson.