FOXBORO, Mass. — Jakobi Meyers was a nice find for the 2019 New England Patriots.
As an undrafted rookie, the North Carolina State product caught 26 passes on 41 targets for 359 yards — marks that rank sixth among all first-year Patriots receivers during the Bill Belichick era — and was active for all but one game.
For someone who entered training camp with zero expectations and little hype, Meyers was a solid contributor. But he wants to be so much more in Year 2.
Speaking with NESN.com earlier this week during the Patriots’ end-of-season media availability, Meyers laid out his ambitious plans for 2020.
“(I’m focused on) coming in and being able to be a factor on this team,” the 23-year-old said. “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.”
A depth piece in a constantly shifting receiving corps, Meyers’ top performances came against the New York Giants (four targets, four catches, 54 yards), New York Jets (five targets, five catches, 47 yards) and Dallas Cowboys (nine targets, four catches, 74 yards) while fellow wideouts Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Josh Gordon, Mohamed Sanu and N’Keal Harry battled injuries.
Meyers was the only Patriots receiver to fully participate in every practice from the start of camp through Saturday’s season-ending playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans. He said he’s “definitely” encouraged by the way he performed during his first year in pro football.
“I just take it for what it’s worth,” Meyers said. “Everything that I learned from it, all the downfalls, all the positives, just combine it all into one and make a game plan for the offseason and come back even better than I was.”
Meyers’ season also included some understandable growing pains. He looked like the undrafted rookie that he was at times, struggling with drops and communication as he worked to gain the trust of quarterback Tom Brady. One such miscue sparked Brady’s much-publicized sideline outburst during New England’s Week 13 loss to the Houston Texans.
Once the Patriots elevated Harry — their first-round draft pick — to a more prominent role in Week 15, Meyers was phased out. He logged just 28 snaps over the final three weeks of the regular season and dressed but did not play against the Titans.
A lack of consistent production from their secondary receivers was a major problem for a Patriots offense that scored 25-plus points just once in its last nine games. It remains to be seen how Belichick and his staff plan to improve that group this offseason, but Meyers, who called working with the notoriously demanding Brady “a blessing,” believes he can be part of the solution.
“This offseason, I just feel like it’s going to be big for me,” he said. “Now I’m not coming in with my eyes closed. I actually know what I’ve got to do.”