Three years ago, Jakobi Meyers arrived at Gillette Stadium as an undrafted rookie just trying to find a roster spot and a role for himself in the then Tom-Brady led Patriots offense.
Now, he’s coming off a season in which he became New England rookie quarterback Mac Jones’ most consistent, reliable target to the tune of a team-best 83 receptions while starting 16 of 17 games played.
Not too shabby for a guy who was apparently lacking the skills NFL teams looked for in the 2019 draft, despite the fact that Meyers had a school-record 92 receptions in his final season at N.C. State.
“That’s actually something I think about all the time, honestly. When I first got here, just how lost I was,” Meyers said, looking back on his three-year evolution. “Just playing keep-up the whole time. Now I feel like even to this point, what excites me the most, is I feel like I haven’t’ hit my ceiling. I feel like I have a lot of room to grow and a lot of plays left to go out there and make. That really keeps me pushing forward, knowing that I can’t get comfortable because guys are getting better. At the same time I still feel I can get a whole lot better. So I’m enjoying the ride right now but I know it’s a long ride left.”
Set to become a restricted free agent this offseason, Meyers made it clear that he “definitely” wants to continue his career in New England.
“I love being here. I enjoy my time. I enjoy how I’ve grown as a man and a person,” Meyers said of wanting to remain a Patriot. “I feel like I did the best as I can as far as to make my case on the field with my play. But at the end of the day it’s not up to me. I’m excited for the future and hopefully it all works out.”
Meyers has seen his role, impact and statistics grow each fall in Foxborough. His receptions went from 26 with Brady in 2019, to 59 with mostly Cam Newton last fall and the 83 with Jones, nearly 30 more than the next closest Patriot. His yards rose from 359 to 729 and 866. He even notched his elusive first NFL touchdown in the blowout of the Browns in mid-November, which he called his favorite game of the season.
Even with the impressive production, Meyers feels there is plenty of room for growth in his relationship working with Jones.
“I feel like we still, we’re way ahead of where we were when the season started, all the questions of who the guy was going to be and us just coming into who we are now,” Meyers said. “But I feel like it could be very promising looking forward. I’m really excited because I feel like he gave me a lot of opportunities to make plays that I left out there on the field. So if I can just work this offseason and make those plays, make those tough plays and capitalize on all the chances he gave me, hopefully we’ll take a step in the right direction.”
That’s assuming that Meyers is back for a fourth season in New England in 2022 to continue his personal evolution both on and off the field in a place where he’s clearly very much at home.
“Honestly I just feel like I’ve gotten better, as a player, as a person, all of it,” Meyers responded when asked what he enjoys about playing in New England. “I think about my first day in the league and just where I was mentally, I just wasn’t who I am today. So I just feel like I’m a much better player, I’m a much better man. And when you have a situation like that it’s something you want to hold onto.”