Jakobi Meyers Might Be New England Patriots’ Next Great UDFA

Jakobi Meyers
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 08: Jakobi Meyers #11 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack makes a catch against Ja'Sir Taylor #24 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the first half of their game at Carter-Finley Stadium on November 08, 2018 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots have one of the most intriguing undrafted free agents in wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. Meyers, a North Carolina State product, wasn’t selected in the NFL Draft but still stands a decent chance to make New England’s 53-man roster. While his 6’1″, 203-pound build differs from a typical New England slot receiver, he brings a unique skill set which could earn him a long NFL career.

Jakobi Meyers Could Be New England’s Next Great Undrafted Free Agent

The Good

The first thing that jumps off the page with Jakobi Meyers is his innate contested catch ability and strong hands. No matter how tight the coverage, Meyers demonstrated an ability to outleap defenders and contort his body to make the catch. Meyers made quite a few big plays on deep passes simply because cornerbacks couldn’t match his jump ball prowess

Jakobi Meyers made plays all over the field, both inside and outside the numbers. As previously demonstrated, Meyers had the ability to adjust to poor passes and make ridiculous catches. While that’s obviously an impressive skill, it’s worth noting that he was just as good at catching passes while taking a hit. There were several instances in which North Carolina asked for Meyers to run crossing patterns and take a beating, and he always answered the call.

Additionally, Meyers’ hands and body skills make him an ideal choice for short yardage and red zone work. Meyers doesn’t need space or separation to win his routes, and he could have a bright future working in the tight confines of the red zone. With Rob Gronkowski retired, New England will need to somebody once they get in the opponents 20-yard line.

On top of that, Meyers was remarkably reliable at getting to the sticks and converting third downs. While he’s a much different player than Julian Edelman, New England could use him in a similar role. Like Edelman, Meyers has a gift for running out routes and picking up just enough yards to keep the drive alive. However, Edelman uses his quickness and explosiveness out of cuts to gain separation from his defender. Meyers, meanwhile, overpowers his defender and uses his strong hands and fearless playstyle to haul in the catch.

The Bad

Meyers should have been drafted, but there are some clear holes in his game. As great as Meyers is on contested catches, he struggles to consistently gain separation. As shown in the clips above, Meyers usually had defenders in close proximity while he was making catches.

Additionally, Meyers has a lot of room to grow after the catch. Despite his relatively impressive build, Meyers tries to use quickness to make defenders miss. The truth of the matter is that Meyers just isn’t quick enough to play that style of football. He takes too long to stop and start and often ends up just going east-west instead of north-south.

Meyers has flashed good YAC ability, but he needs to do it on a more consistent basis. He’s at his best when he lowers the shoulder and picks up a few extra yards, but he’ll need to get quicker if he’s to add a big play element to his game.

Meyers could improve his quickness with time, but his separation issues aren’t likely to dramatically improve. This is obviously not ideal, as the best wide receiver is typically an open one. However, Meyers might not need to be an elite separator based on how good he is at everything else. Josh Gordon wasn’t great at getting separation, yet he was a godsend for New England’s offense.

Defenses around the league are getting smaller and quicker to combat the new wave of shifty wide receivers. Bill Belichick appears to be countering that by investing in bigger, stronger receivers like Meyers and first-round rookie N’Keal Harry. Assuming Belichick’s roster philosophy is correct (it usually is), then Meyers’ inability to separate won’t dramatically affect his NFL future.

Jakobi Meyers NFL Prediction

Jakobi Meyers put a lot of good film together during his time at North Carolina State. The undrafted rookie made some jaw-dropping plays and has some of the best hands and body control ability of any receiver in the NFL Draft. He’s not afraid to go over the middle and he’s able to use his size to convert tough third downs and make plays in the red zone.

Meyers has NFL potential, but he’s not a finished product. He’ll need to improve his quickness and his work after the catch if he’s ever going to develop into a true NFL starting receiver. Barring any injuries, Meyers will probably be on the shortlist for one of New England’s final roster spots. If he can’t quite make the cut, don’t be surprised if he ends up getting the “Foxboro Flu” and misses the season. Either way, he’ll probably spend the majority of the year honing up his game before fighting for a bigger role in 2020.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Nice article, but when referring to a college player, cutting the school name short can mean the wrong team. He didn’t play for “NC” or “North Carolina.”

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