Chad Jackson’s combine statistics were mouthwatering — 4.32 40-yard dash, 38.5-inch vertical leap, 10-foot-2 broad jump.
The Patriots’ 36th overall pick in 2006 didn’t fulfill his potential in Tom Brady’s wide-open offense, but he is looking to use his tools to beat the team that traded up 16 picks to draft him.
According to ESPN.com, Jackson is in Orchard Park, N.Y., embroiled in a dogfight for one of the Bills’ five spots at wide receiver.
But first he’ll have to prove himself. The Patriots claimed a lack of motivation stunted his rehab from a torn ACL sustained in the 2006 AFC championship game. Jackson isn’t so sure they were telling the full story.
"When I got hurt, I fell back," Jackson told ESPN. "I tore my ACL. I hurt my hamstring. Then they brought Randy Moss and Wes Welker and Donte Stallworth and all those guys in. I was put on the back burner. I'm just trying to make up for lost time now."
If Jackson makes the Bills, he’ll have a chance to exact revenge twice a year on the club that cut him loose.
He has the ambition to do just that. Jackson didn’t enter Bills camp yearning for a spot on special teams. He’s itching for a prominent role on a team in transition.
"The wide receiver position is open," Jackson said. "I can come in here and get a starting spot, No. 2 or No. 3 spot. I got a lot of opportunity here ahead of me."
Jackson has shown he has the chops to deliver on his promise. He caught 88 balls for 900 yards and nine touchdowns during his junior — and final — season at the University of Florida.
The Bills just hope his numbers on paper translate to numbers on the playing field.