Film Review: Jakobi Meyers Can Carve Out Larger Role With Patriots in Year 2
Jakobi Meyers became a member of the New England Patriots after somehow going undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. Meyers in 2019 came off the best year of his career at NC State with 92 receptions, 1,047 yards, and four touchdowns. His catch total broke Torry Holt's single season reception record at NC State, which was set at 88. That record stood for 21 years before being broken.
The most impressive part about these stats is that Meyers is new to the position. He was recruited to NC State to be a quarterback, but after his freshman season in 2015 he switched positions. Meyers got better every single season in college and he was one half of an electric receiving duo of him and Kelvin Harmon. Harmon and Meyers both posted big numbers at NC State but that didn't help either of their draft stocks. Harmon ended up going in the 6th round and Meyers would go undrafted.
Meyers would end up signing a contract with the Patriots and he would have a great preseason. During the preseason, Meyers led every Patriots player in receiving yards with 253. He also posted two touchdowns and 20 receptions on 28 targets. That is a fantastic 71.4% catch percentage. His preseason performance would get him a spot on the team and he would have a solid regular season overall, especially for someone that has only played the position for four years.
Meyers would finish the year with 26 receptions, 359 yards, and zero touchdowns. A solid first year, but Meyers will improve this season. Throughout his 2019 season, he showed off his potential as a dependable receiver and his potential as key piece in the offense moving forward.
Now, let's get into his film.
This first clip shows off something that was all over Jakobi Meyers' 2019 tape. Meyers can consistently finish tough catches like this one and his YAC (yards after catch) ability is underrated. Meyers, #16, gets hit right as the ball arrives, but he's able to bounce off the hit while finishing the catch and picking up extra yards. Defensive backs can have issues tackling Meyers and this allows him to make big plays happen.
This is an awesome route by Jakobi Meyers to get open for a big gain. Meyers starts off in the slot on the right side of the field and does a great job fighting through contact from the cornerback. Meyers gets upfield and slips past the linebacker in the middle of the field and uses the linebacker to set a form of a pick on the corner. The corner gets slowed down and ends up behind Meyers and then Meyers cuts outside leaving the corner in the dust. Meyers gets wide open and shows off his YAC ability again, bouncing off of the safety's tackle attempt.
On this play against the Giants, the Patriots try and run a pick to get Meyers open. Josh Gordon is running an in-breaking route on this play while Meyers is running a wheel route underneath Gordon. New England is trying to get the corner that is on Meyers to get stuck in the traffic created by Gordon, but the corner plays it well and is able to stick with Meyers. However, Meyers is able to show off how well he can adjust to passes by getting behind the corner and going down to catch this ball. Meyers has good hands and he is a good route runner. He's also only going to improve his route running.
Jakobi Meyers is lined up in the slot to the left and runs a deep crossing route on this play. The cornerback here has outside leverage against Meyers, which gives him a free release on this play. Meyers starts off vertically and when gets to the cornerback he stutters and goes inside. Meyers creates a ton of separation between himself and the corner trying to cover him and he's able to adjust to a poorly thrown ball. Meyers has strong hands and he shows that off all over his tape.
This is a route that gets me super excited about Jakobi Meyers' potential. The Patriots have him run a deep in route on this play, but there's one problem. Meyers needs to get inside leverage to win on this play. To do this, Meyers starts off the route by faking that he's going outside to get the corner to bite. Once the corner thinks that Meyers is going outside, Meyers attacks inside and has complete control inside. Then, at the top of the route Meyers snaps off the route and cuts inside, creating separation. Meyers being able to get open against a veteran corner is a great sign for the future.
Meyers shows off a great double move on this play and draws defensive pass interference because of the move. Meyers fakes that he is going to stop, and fully commits to the fake. Watch his head and his outside leg here. He turns his head back to Brady to make the corner think that Meyers is finishing his route and is about to get the ball. The corner bites hard on this move and when Meyers fakes the stop, the corner moves down to defend the route and right when that happens he loses. Meyers blows right past him and the corner is forced to grab Meyers so that he doesn't score a touchdown on this play.
This route is just like the second clip, but this time Meyers gets a free release off the line. Meyers starts off attacking the inside of the field, making the safety respect that. The safety has to move inside more to make sure Meyers doesn't run right past him. Once the safety on him starts taking steps inside, Meyers begins getting outside and creates a lot of separation because of it. Meyers can do the little things to manipulate defensive backs and get separation.
Meyers shows off his YAC ability on this play. He's running a drag and is able to break a tackle from the corner and makes a man miss to get extra yards. Defenders can't just throw themselves at Meyers and hope he goes down because he will break weak tackle attempts and get extra yards.
Meyers runs a great curl route on this play and is able to get open against new Miami Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones. The beginning of this route is a huge reason as to why Meyers was able to beat Jones. Meyers starts off with a fake to the inside and Jones reacts to that by taking a step inside. With Jones doing this, Meyers goes outside and gets vertical.
A good release off the line is a key to getting open in the NFL, especially when you're going up against a very good corner like Byron Jones. Meyers sells that running a go route, and Jones has to respect that so he runs with Meyers. Right when Meyers hits the 45 yard line, he cuts off his route and finishes his curl. Jones goes right past him and Meyers gets wide open. Unfortunately the ball is thrown late, but Meyers being able to do this against a top corner is an awesome thing to see.
Jakobi Meyers shows off his strong hands here on this out route. He isn't able to create separation on this route like he did on other routes, but that's okay. Players don't have to create separation every time to make plays. With a corner all over him, he's able to finish this catch and pick up a clutch 1st down on 3rd-and-7.
For the last clip, this is another great example of how well Meyers can finish catches. Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and reacts to this pass instantly. Meyers gets hit mid-air while he's trying to finish this catch and is not only able to bring the ball in but also stay upright to try and get more yards. This is another clutch play as well; it's 2nd-and-16 and the offense needs to a big play in order to have a manageable 3rd down. Meyers is able to make that big play happen and set up the offense at the 10 yard line.
There were times when Meyers struggled with drops and running the wrong route, but that was to be expected. He was a rookie wide receiver coming into one of the hardest offenses in the NFL and is still new to the position. He is a good route runner and he will be even better this year. He was able to get used to the speed of the NFL and the playbook. This is going to be huge for his development. I think that he will be a clutch player for the Patriots and a player that consistently moves the chains.
Jakobi Meyers has a bright future in New England.