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UB's Tyree Jackson shows blazing speed, gets critique from Steve Smith

INDIANAPOLIS — Tyree Jackson showed off his impressive physical tools and had fun with an NFL legend on the field at the NFL scouting combine Saturday.

He also drew some skepticism from former NFL quarterbacks.

The University at Buffalo quarterback ran a blazing-fast time in the 40-yard dash for a man who is 6-foot-7 and 249 pounds. Jackson’s time of 4.59 seconds was second among all QBs to Penn State’s Trace McSorley, a 6-foot, 200-pounder who ran 4.57 seconds.

The 4.59 time is seventh fastest of any QB at the combine in the past five years. By comparison, the Bills’ Josh Allen ran 4.81, tied for the fastest among any QB drafted last year. Ex-Bill Tyrod Taylor ran 4.51 as a 217-pounder in 2011.

Jackson also had a vertical jump of 34.5 inches, best among the 15 QBs who worked out Saturday and tied for eighth best among QBs over the past five years. Jackson had a broad jump of 10 feet, tied for the best with Duke’s Daniel Jones. The Bills' Allen had a vertical jump of 33.5 and a broad jump of 9-11 last year.

Still, Hall-of-Fame QB Kurt Warner wasn’t sold on Jackson as one of the top prospects in this year’s draft.

“I’ve always said that it is hard for tall guys to be consistently accurate because there’s so much movement,” the NFL Network's Warner said of Jackson’s throwing motion. “The whole idea with accuracy is compact, the same movement, the same throw every single time. The taller you are, the more movement you have. You’d be hard-pressed to find a guy in the NFL who’s that tall that has been one of the more accurate guys.”

Jim Miller, the former Bears QB and SiriusXM NFL Radio analyst, said this of Jackson after watching Saturday’s on-field throwing:

“To me, he's just a raw guy. From Buffalo, coming out a year early, I kind of wish he would have stayed in college another year. But he's got a lot of raw skills. To me, he'll be a mid- to late-rounder because I think you're going to have to work with him for a little bit.”

Jackson was mostly accurate on the 44 throws he made during drills at Lucas Oil Stadium.

He displayed one of the strongest arms of the nine QBs in his group in throwing three straight 52-yard go-routes for completions.

And he rifled balls during the “gauntlet drill,” in which receivers run across the width of the field and catch seven 10-yard passes from alternating directions from seven QBs.

Jackson’s first four bullets were caught. The fifth zoomed through a receiver’s hands.

“Tyree Jackson just tried to kill him,” joked NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah. “He just threw a lightning bolt.”

Former NFL great receiver Steve Smith, providing on-field commentary, blurted out in defense of the receivers: “We’re out here trying to make a million dollars, and he’s out here BS-ing.”

"I know this is a job interview but someone needs to throw the ball back to Jackson one time," Smith said. "He’ll get the message."

Smith went up to Jackson and told him to throw it with less steam, which Jackson did for a completion on the next throw. Then a laughing Jackson pumped his fist and raised his hand in the air while smiling with Smith.

“He’s been smiling the whole day, and I love that,” Jeremiah said.

Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, the Heisman Trophy winner and a projected first-round pick, opted not to throw or do any testing Saturday.

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