By not selecting a receiver in the draft, it looks like the New England Patriots are turning to Jakobi Meyers and other youngsters on their current roster.
In addition to the New England Patriots drafting N’Keal Harry in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Patriots also signed two undrafted rookie free agent wide receivers: Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski.
They both signed three-year rookie deals, but will probably still have to battle for a roster spot heading into the 2020 season.
Both Olszewski and Meyers experienced the obvious rookie struggles during their first year with the Patriots, but we have also heard for many years now how complex and challenging this offense can be even for experienced veterans, let alone two inexperienced rookies.
Even with their struggles, the two rookies still made an impact on the team, which in turn gave them some leverage as they head into their second season with the Patriots.
What is most intriguing about Meyers is how well he connected with then-rookie quarterback Jarrett Stidham early on during the preseason. Stidham — who is now in line to be the successor of Tom Brady — and Meyers built up much-needed chemistry between a quarterback and his wide receiver during the 2019 preseason.
After a standout preseason, Meyers made the final roster and was featured in 15 games (with one start) for the Patriots last year. He connected with Brady on 26 of his 41 targets, averaging 13.8 yards per catch for 359 yards.
Meyers’ 63.4 percent catch rate is the sixth-highest for any rookie during the Belichick coaching era in New England.
He also believes he is poised to make a big impact on the Patriots in his second year. Here’s some of what he said to NESN’s Zack Cox recently:
"“(I want to be) not just somebody who can step up when you need him, but somebody who they depend on. I want to come in and show them that I can make it through a full season knowing my job, being the smartest player in the room, and at the same time, still make plays. This offseason, I just feel like it’s going to be big for me. Now I’m not coming in with my eyes closed. I actually know what I’ve got to do.”"
Meyers has a feel for what he is exactly going to be capable of in the NFL and for the Patriots.
Having the firsthand experience of running plays, being around Brady, and now understanding the expectations of being a receiver on this team is what will set Meyers apart from the handful of receivers who are trying to take his spot.
If Meyers does find himself in the future plans with the team, then the New England Patriots would have a solid core group of young wide receivers with Harry, Meyers, and Olszewski — who all will have been on the team with Stidham for the same amount of time.
Though the Patriots elected not to select a wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft, they have since signed three undrafted rookie free agent wide receivers in the days after the draft: Jeff Thomas, Will Hastings, and Sean Riley. They have also brought in several free agent wide receivers: Quincy Adeboyejo, Damiere Byrd, Marqise Lee, and Devin Ross.
All of these players will have the opportunity to make the team.
Believe it or not, Jakobi Meyers had an impressive rookie season despite being used in a limited role. As he heads into his second year with the team, he is in a great position to follow up his rookie year in a much larger and more impactful way.
The future looks bright for Meyers playing in New England this year and for many years to come.