The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Even though the New England Patriots invested considerable resources in their offensive skill position personnel during the 2021 offseason, a familiar face ended the year as the most productive pass catcher on the team. Jakobi Meyers caught more passes than any of his teammates and also led the Patriots in receiving yards.
Meyers’ production and the chemistry he showed with rookie starting quarterback Mac Jones were encouraging. However, the third-year man still sees a lot of growth potential in himself despite coming off a career year.
“What excites me the most is that I feel like I haven’t hit my ceiling yet. I feel like I still have a lot of room to grow and a lot of plays left to go out there and make,” Meyers said earlier this week. “I really will keep pushing forward, knowing that I can’t get comfortable because guys are getting better. At the same time I still feel like I can get a whole lot better. I’m enjoying the ride right now, but I know there’s still a long ride left.”
A former undrafted free agent who joined the Patriots in 2019, Meyers has continually expanded his role in the offense. He started off as a rotational depth option but by Year 2 was New England’s number one pass catcher.
Despite playing with his third different starting quarterback in as many seasons and having to share targets with offseason additions such as Kendrick Bourne and Hunter Henry, the N.C. State product proved himself as consistent a player as any on the New England offense. When all was said and done, he had hauled in 83 passes for 866 yards and the first two receiving touchdowns of his career.
With the Patriots’ season over, however, he already has an eye on the future after a 2021 season he called a “rollercoaster.”
“I proved a lot of things to myself, but I also left a lot in the air,” Meyers said. “I’m excited for this offseason because I feel like I can make a lot of growth, but this season was definitely a great learning tool for me and I’m ready to move forward.”
The 25-year-old, who is scheduled to become a restricted free agent, eyes one area in particular: he wants to keep his body in better shape. Meyers feels as if he did not do that as well as he could have in 2021.
“As the season went on I probably lost a lot of playing strength,” he said. “Just probably losing weight. Just probably not taking care of my body as well as I should have towards the end of the year. So, I want to make sure I’m starting the year on a better foot. It’s my first time playing a full year and playing as many plays as I’ve played.
“Now I have a baseline, I understand where I need to get to and how my body reacts playing a whole season. I just want to make sure I’m more prepared going through the season next year.”