Ryan L. Fox
It seems like every year that there is one camp body that takes the fans and media by storm. Sometimes it’s due to a string of good practices, other times it is due to a breakout preseason game. But whatever the case maybe, all those players usually end up being cut during roster-trim downs and then picked up off waivers or simply assigned to the practice squad.
However this year, the New England Patriots had a player in camp that took the fans and media by storm. He ended up having a very good training camp and shined in the preseason games he fully participated in and has shown that he not only deserved a spot on the 53-man roster but as a future prospect down the road. That player is WR Jakobi Meyers.
Full Name: Jakobi Meyers
Date of Birth: November 9, 1996
Birthplace: Lithonia, Georgia
Age Going into 2019 NFL Regular Season: 22 (Will turn 23 on November 9)
Position: Wide Receiver
Acquired: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New England Patriots in 2019
School: North Carolina State
Background Prior to College
Meyers played high school football as a quarterback at Arabia Mountain High School in Lithonia, Georgia. During his senior year in high school, Jakobi completed 110 of 170 passes (64.7 percent) for 1,834 yards and 23 TDs while adding 534 yards and 8 TDs. After finishing up his senior year, Meyers was ranked as the 1956th high school prospect in the nation (184th overall in the state of Georgia) as well as the 54th ranked overall dual-threat quarterback coming out. Meyers ended up committing to North Carolina State on January 19, 2015 as he signed his letter of intent on February 4 that same year and enrolled on August 21.
Meyers ended up redshirting his freshman year in at North Carolina State in 2015.
In 2016, he began the process of converting over from quarterback to wide receiver. His first game was against William & Mary at home where he caught 1 pass for 9 yards in the team’s 48-17 victory. Meyers ended up finishing the season appearing in 7 games while making 13 receptions for 158 yards and 0 TDs.
As a team, the Wolfpack finished the regular season at a 6-6 record before getting an invitation to play in the Independence Bowl against Vanderbilt. NC State ended up winning with the final score of 41-17 to finish the 2016 season with a final record of 7-6.
In 2017, Meyers was slated as a wide receiver for the Wolfpack. He appeared in 11 of the 12 regular season games and as well as played in the Sun Bowl against Arizona State on December 29. For the entire 2017 season, Meyers finished with 63 receptions for 727 yards and 5 TDs. The 727 yard were second on the team that year behind teammate WR Kelvin Harmon’s 1,017 receiving yards.
As a team, the Wolfpack had a better year in 2017. They finished the regular season with a record of 8-4 as they were invited to participate in the Sun Bowl against Arizona State. NC State ended up crushing Arizona State in the Sun Bowl on the final score of 52-31 (Meyers had 7 catches for 76 yards and 1 TD in the game). The Wolfpack ended up finishing the season with a 9-4 record and were ranked 23rd overall in the final AP poll of 2017.
In 2018, Meyers had one of his best seasons as a collegiate player. He appeared in 11 of the 12 regular season games and as well as played in the Gator Bowl against Texas A & M on December 31. For the entire 2018 season, Meyers finished with 92 receptions for 1,047 yards and 4 TDs. The 92 receptions broke NC State’s all-time single-season reception record of 89 set by former Wolfpack WR Torry Holt in 1998 (89 reception). His 1,047 receiving yards were second on the team again behind teammate Kelvin Harmon’s 1,186 receiving yards. Meyers also joined Harmon on the 2018 All-ACC First-Team, becoming the first two receivers in school history to be named to the All-ACC First-Team.
As a team, the Wolfpack continued to build off their successful 2017 with a strong 2018 season. They finished the regular season with a record of 9-3 as they were invited to participate in the Gator Bowl against No. 21 ranked Texas A & M. Unfortunately, NC State ended up getting crushed by the Aggies on the final score of 52-13 (Meyers had 3 catches for 19 yards in the game). The Wolfpack ended up finishing the season with a 9-4 record and were unranked to end the year.
On January 1, 2019, Meyers announced that he was going to forgo his final season of eligibility and declared for the NFL Draft.
NFL Combine & NFL Scouting
Meyers was invited to participate in the 2019 NFL Combine. He posted the following measurable numbers:
40 Yard Dash: 4.63 seconds
Bench Press: 13 reps
Vertical Jump: 37.0 in
Broad Jump: 118.0 in
3 Cone Drill: 7.07 seconds
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.23 seconds
According to many NFL scouting reports, Meyers was a good route runner with good awareness and field IQ. Meyers also had good catching ability, able to not only compete for the ball while it is in the air but also be able to adjust his body for off target throws and can catch the ball through contact and hold on due to his body size and hand strength.
Unfortunately, the same scouting reports also reported that Meyers was a ‘below-average athlete’. Many NFL scouts felt that Meyers lacked the necessary speed and quickness as well as the footwork to be able to separate him from a defender at the NFL level. Also, there were some concerns about his ability to be able to win a jump ball battle against a defender down the field.
Coming into the 2019 NFL draft, Stidham was graded as the 51st overall WR prospect coming out of college. According to some draft analysts, Meyers was projected as a 4th rounder on Day 3 of the draft while many thought he would go undrafted and sign on as an undrafted rookie free agent.
The NFL Draft then came and went as Meyers ended up going undrafted. However, upon completion of the draft, the New England Patriots signed Meyers as an undrafted rookie free agent.
Meyers ended up signing a 3 yr/ $1,765,000 undrafted rookie deal with the Patriots on May 10. This deal included a $10,000 signing bonus and $60,000 guaranteed.
2019 NFL Pre-Season
So far it was a good preseason for the undrafted free agent wide receiver from NC State. He displayed good footwork and route running during Patriots training camp as well as showing his catching skills and the ability to catch through contact. Meyers also began to develop chemistry with fellow rookie QB Jarred Stidham.
Meyers exploded onto the scene in his first preseason game against the Detroit Lions as a starter. For the game, Meyers caught 6 passes (on 8 targets) for 69 yards and 2 TDs. Both his receptions and receiving yards were not only team highs but game highs as well.
In his second preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, Meyers didn’t start the game but still got significant playing time. He finished the game with 6 catches (on 6 targets) for 82 yards and had a 2-point conversion as well. Like against the Lions, both Meyers’ catches and receiving yards were again team and game highs.
In his third preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, Meyers started the game. Unlike the previous two games, Meyers ended up working with 1st string QB Tom Brady. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned as the two had difficulty getting down timing with one another. But when Stidham came into the game, Meyers was able to flourish yet again. He finished the game with 7 catches (on 12 targets) for 74 yards. This time around, Meyers ended up tying with teammate WR Phillip Dorsett in leading both the team and the game in catches while Meyers’ 74 receiving yards were again both team and game highs.
In the final preseason game of the year against the New York Giants, Meyers did not see too much action compared to the other 3 preseason games. He was targeted twice, making just 1 catch for 28 yards for the entire game before being pulled in later in the 3rd quarter.
Meyers ended up finishing the entire preseason with 20 catches for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns. Both his catches and receiving yards were not only team preseason highs but also league preseason highs as well. He also made 14 first downs with his catches, which were also both team and league preseason highs.
Then on September 1, it was roster cuts. Much to Meyers excitement, he was selected to the Patriots 53-man roster to start the 2019 NFL season.
It was no shocker to see Meyers make the 53-man roster for the New England Patriots. At 6’2’’ and 203lbs, Meyers gives the Patriots a big-body wideout that can play the slot. Not to mention that his performance this past preseason showed that there is potential for the undrafted rookie out of NC State to become a key contributor to the offense down the road.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Patriots bring along Meyers when they already got the likes of WRs Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, and rookie 1st round pick N’keal Harry as well as RBs James White and Rex Burkhead that can catch the ball out of the back field. Luckily, Meyers could see some playing time with Harry battling through injuries as well as the uncertainty of Edelman’s left thumb injury as well as the uncertainty of whether or not Gordon can stay on the field.
But the main question is whether or not Meyers can connect with starting QB Tom Brady.
As it was shown during the preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, the two have not been on the same page as Meyers was with Stidham. This was due to Brady skipping OTAs at the beginning of the summer, thus not allowing the two to build a repertoire with one another to get down the timing between Brady throwing the ball and where Meyers needs to be in the route. If these problems continue to pop up throughout the season, this could stunt Meyers growth as Brady will simply ignore him and focus on getting the ball to those he can ‘rely on’ like an Edelman, White, Gordon, or Dorsett.
Hopefully the two will be able to work on their timing and communication with one another before that happens.
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