Through two games last September, Jakobi Meyers played 15 offensive snaps and caught the lone pass sent his direction. Through two games this September, the former undrafted arrival out of North Carolina State has played 126 and caught 10.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick praised that progression during his Friday press conference.
“Just really as a player, Jakobi’s had a very, I would say, steady growth since he’s come here,” Belichick told reporters. “Undrafted, really was kind of a little bit of an unusual fit in the offense just from his background. And it’s interesting, I talked to a couple of the coaches that he had at N.C. State, and he’s just an interesting kid.”
A three-star quarterback recruit out of Georgia’s Arabia Mountain High School, Meyers converted to wide receiver after redshirting his freshman season. He would go on to catch 168 passes for 1,932 yards and nine touchdowns during his Wolfpack career before running the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.07 seconds at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.
“He’s not really the profile of a slot receiver. He’s not really the profile of a perimeter receiver,” Belichick said of the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Meyers. “But he does both. He has a good skillset that enables him to be multiple and he’s smart. Just doesn’t really fit, I would say, the exact profile that you would have for one particular spot. But the combination of all of them he does pretty well.”
Meyers went on to lead the Patriots with 59 receptions for 729 yards last campaign and threw for two touchdowns. The 24-year-old did so despite being inactive for one game and not leaving the sideline for another.
“He’s become much better in every phase of the game — blocking, man-to-man route running, inside routes, outside routes, zone awareness,” added Belichick. “Just adjusting to the quarterback, which he’s played for now three different quarterbacks, so that’s all part of it, too. And he continues to do a lot of the little things that are important not only at his position but within the entire group.”
Meyers has played 76 percent of his snaps in the slot this fall, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s been targeted a team-high 15 times from rookie quarterback Mac Jones. And his 82 receiving yards currently rank second on New England’s wideout depth chart behind Nelson Agholor and ahead of Kendrick Bourne.
“He’s given a lot of good leadership to the receiver group because he has the most experience in our system of any of those players,” Belichick said. “Of course, Nelly and K.B. have played a lot of football, but Jakobi’s played more for us. But it’s been very consistent. It wasn’t just Year 1 to Year 2, but it was then Year 2 to Year 3. He’s really moved up every year and throughout the course of each season, too.
“So I think everybody — I certainly have a lot of respect for what he’s accomplished and how hard he’s worked to work on his weaknesses and improve those areas to become kind of a receiver that can do a lot of things for us.”