New England Patriots: Don’t sleep on Jakobi Meyers in 2020

Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /

Second-year WR Jakobi Meyers showed flashes as a rookie with the New England Patriots last season — especially when paired with QB Jarrett Stidham.

Without a doubt, the story of the 2019 preseason for the New England Patriots was Jakobi Meyers.

After going undrafted coming out of NC State, the Pats picked up Meyers with little fanfare. He may have impressed some of his coaches during OTAs, minicamp, and into training camp itself, but it really wasn’t until the preseason began that Meyers became a familiar name around New England and beyond.

In the Patriots’ first game against the Lions, Meyers led all New England receivers with six receptions for 69 yards — two of which went for touchdowns. In the team’s second preseason game against the Titans, Meyers again led all New England receivers and again had six receptions — this time for 82 yards (though no touchdowns).

He had seven receptions for 74 yards in New England’s third preseason game against the Panthers, leading the Patriots in receiving yards for his third consecutive week. Meyers was only targeted twice in the Patriots’ fourth preseason game against the Giants, but he did make one catch for 28 yards.

By the time the preseason was finished, Meyers had racked up a total of 20 catches for 253 yards and two touchdowns.

Here’s the real kicker: 100% of that production came with Jarrett Stidham in at quarterback as opposed to Tom Brady (who only played against Carolina in the third game, for what it’s worth).

Meyers was significantly less impressive during the regular season. Appearing in 15 games for New England, he caught just 26 total passes on 41 targets for 359 yards and no touchdowns.

His chemistry with Brady was noticeably lacking at times. Meyers was often the subject of Brady’s sideline tirades when the veteran quarterback expressed his frustration with his youthful receivers failing to gain separation from the defense.

Meyers’ fellow rookie wideout, N’Keal Harry, caught just 12 passes on 24 targets for 105 yards. Harry did manage to score two touchdowns though, and he played in only seven games as opposed to Meyers’ 15 (because of injury).

Still, it’s an interesting comparison to make given that Harry was the No. 32 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and Meyers went undrafted.

Meyers actually finished as the Patriots’ fourth-leading receiver during the regular season behind Julian Edelman, James White, and Phillip Dorsett. In total, he only had three less receptions and 38 less yards than Dorsett while playing in just one more game.

Jakobi Meyers could — and should — be one of Jarrett Stidham’s favorite targets

The point of all this?

Don’t sleep on Jakobi Meyers in 2020.

He and Stidham came into the league together. While Stidham and Harry will still be working on their chemistry this preseason and into the regular season — especially given the coronavirus pandemic and how it’s already cut short offseason training activities and team workouts — Stidham and Meyers already have a head-start thanks to their work last summer.

The connection between quarterback and receiver looked extremely impressive during the 2019 preseason. It only stands to reason that the connection will be even stronger a year later now that both players have been around the block longer.

Next. N'Keal Harry should work with Julian Edelman again. dark

Julian Edelman should still lead all Patriots in receiving yards this season. N’Keal Harry is doing all the right things on his own time to take the next step forward and become a more reliable weapon on this offense — he should also have a much better second season than he had as a rookie.

But don’t forget about Jakobi Meyers, who could be primed for a true breakout season in this offense.