The New England Patriots, who will head into their summer vacation soon, currently have 90 players on their active roster. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on August 31 and ultimately make the team. Over the course of the summer, we will take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots defend their Super Bowl title.
Today, the series continues with one of New England’s undrafted rookie signings.
Name: Jakobi Meyers
Position: Wide receiver
Jersey number: TBD (offseason #69)
Size: 6’2, 200 lbs.
2018 review: Coming off what was a productive sophomore season, redshirt junior Jakobi Meyers was able to elevate his game even further in 2018. As quarterback Ryan Finley’s go-to-guy, the 6-foot-2 receiver finished the year with a team-high 92 receptions as well as 1,047 yards and 4 touchdowns. Furthermore, Meyers attempted two passes — both of which fell incomplete — and was used as a ball carrier on three occasions for a combined -9 yards.
Despite some negative plays in a role out of his comfort zone, however, he was a solid and consistent contributor at N.C. State last year. One big reason for that is his ball skills: the former high school quarterback, who has just three seasons of pass catching experience under his belt, proved himself a natural receiver capable of bringing the football in even when it was thrown outside his frame or when finding himself in contested situations.
Primarily a slot option that appeared in twelve of the Wolfpack’s thirteen games, Meyers’ lack of explosiveness was evident in 2018 but he was consistently competing both as a receiver and as a blocker in the running and screen game. All in all, he therefore entered the draft process as a developmental prospect with some obvious but raw skill. It was no real surprise to see the 22-year-old not hear his name called on draft day, though.
2019 preview: Meyers was among the first wave of unrestricted free agency signings by the Patriots this year: on May 2, the team announced that it had signed him to a standard three-year contract — one that will hit New England’s salary cap with roughly $500,000 this season. His comparatively low cap hit is reflective of his standing on the Patriots’ roster and his long-term outlook with the team: Meyers is no lock to make the 53-man squad.
That being said, the rookie will be given plenty of chances to earn a spot on the team or its practice squad — especially if mandatory minicamp was any indication. After all, Meyers looked comfortable on the practice fields and at one point even found himself in a side-session with Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, and first-round rookie wideout N’Keal Harry. Is this a good sign for his future with the squad? That remains to be seen, but it was still noteworthy.
All in all, Meyers will need to keep improving during training camp and the preseason and show that he can adapt quickly to life in the NFL. If he does that and establishes himself on a crowded but mostly unsettled wide receiver corps, the free agent signing could very well find himself on New England’s pay roll once the season opens — most likely on the practice squad, given his raw set of skills, but if he truly stands out maybe even on the active roster.