Tarvaris Fox Jackson III (born April 21, 1983 in Montgomery, Alabama) is an American football quarterback who is currently a member of the Seattle Seahawks. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He played college football at Alabama State.
The Vikings scouting and personnel had reportedly been watching him closely in secret over his senior season, particularly liking his performance in the East-West Shrine Game. They were also impressed by his workout at the scouting combine (among the top-5 quarterbacks in ball speed and 40 yard dash). Several NFL teams including the Vikings had arranged secret workouts with him too. Jackson was selected with the last pick in the 2nd round (64th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft, while he was projected to go much later in the 4th-7th rounds. The Vikings traded two 3rd round picks to get the 2nd round pick with which they drafted Jackson, fearing he may get picked sooner than anticipated. Jackson's early selection caused some surprise as he was the 5th quarterback taken and the 1st Division I-AA player selected (the last I-AA quarterback drafted was Spergon Wynn in 2000). He was also the first quarterback from Alabama State to be drafted into the NFL since Ricky Jones in 1992. Even Jackson was surprised by the pick saying, "I was more focused on the third round and even that was stretching it". Most pre-draft publications did not even have him listed as one of the top 10 eligible quarterbacks, while he was the 5th selected. On 26 July 2006, Jackson signed a four year deal with Minnesota, including a $1 million signing bonus.
Vikings coach Brad Childress was quoted days before the draft as saying he was interested in finding a "developmental guy", a "diamond in the rough" quarterback of the future, raw talent he could teach a system. Both new coach Childress and Vikings former quarterback Brad Johnson have had a lot of success developing quarterbacks in the past - A.J. Feeley and Donovan McNabb owe a lot of their success to Childress, and Chris Simms says Brad Johnson was the best tutor he's ever had. Jackson's quarterback coach at Alabama State, Reggie Barlow, played wide receiver with Brad Johnson at Tampa Bay so Tarvaris had been looking forward to learning from him. Other Vikings coaches have experience developing quarterbacks too. Vikings Quarterbacks Coach Kevin Rogers had developed Donovan McNabb in college. And Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell had spent time as Quarterbacks Coach to Brett Favre too. The use of two 3rd round picks showed how much they felt Tarvaris was the guy they wanted to use their skills to develop.