The New England Patriots’ wide receiver position remains a work in progress two weeks into training camp. The team does have 10 of them under contract to compete for opportunities and eventually spots on the roster or practice squad, but only veteran Julian Edelman has been a truly consistent presence when on the field so far — and even he has been limited at times as the team is managing the 34-year-old’s workload.
No matter if it is N’Keal Harry looking terrific one day before playing a marginal role the next, Gunner Olszewski being a camp standout but struggling with drops, or Mohamed Sanu not making a the desired play-by-play impact, the other wideouts on the roster all had their ups and downs. Jakobi Meyers is also no exception in his second training camp since arriving in New England as an undrafted rookie free agent last year.
Meyers was showing some solid improvement over the summer despite not making a massive leap forward, but over the last six practices has been a limited participant each time. According to NESN’s Doug Kyed, we now know the reason for this: the 23-year-old is dealing with a shoulder injury that he suffered during one of last week’s practices. Meyers is reportedly expected to be back in full capacity at one point next week.
Once he is able to participate in full-team drills and individual work again, the second-year man will continue his fight for a roster spot behind locks/de facto locks Edelman, Harry, Sanu and Olszewski. Coming away victoriously from the competition will not be an easy task for him, even without the added challenge that is the shoulder injury: fellow wideouts Damiere Byrd and Devin Ross, for example, have made some big plays this summer, while Meyers was comparatively quiet.
That said, the N.C. State product has the in-game experience in the Patriots’ system that Byrd, Ross and rookie receivers Jeff Thomas, Isaiah Zuber and Will Hastings all lack: Meyers appeared in 16 games last year and caught 26 passes on 40 catchable targets for a combined 359 yards. While he was used as a rotational depth option, the youngster did play 50+ percent of New England’s offensive snaps in six of his contests.
Before hurting his shoulder last week, Meyers caught seven passes during 11-on-11 and 7-on7 drills without a single drop. His sure hands helped him make the team last summer, and he will need to get them back into action again quickly and efficiently to do the same in 2020 as well.