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A rookie free-agent makes the Patriots roster every year. Some contribute right away. Malcolm Butler made maybe the greatest play in NFL history when he got his chance against the Seahawks as a rookie in the Super Bowl. Can Jakobi Meyers be that rookie free agent who will be a big contributor this year? He looked great against the Lions. — Mark B.
He’s definitely a fascinating case, Mark. He’s received rave reviews through camp, and that translated to the field Thursday night. He had six catches on eight targets – including a pair of touchdowns – as well as 69 yards. He also made a great breakup of a Jarrett Stidham throw that looked like it might be picked. He looked like a veteran out there, which is impressive for a guy who didn’t get drafted after leaving North Carolina State a year early.
I bet some of the Patriots writers who do a lot of homework before the draft trying to identify potential Patriots picks identified Meyers as someone they would like, even though they didn’t ultimately spend a pick on him. He had a Wolfpack-record 92 catches last year for 1,047 yards, which suggests he’s pretty good at getting open in limited space. (On his first TD catch last night, on a Brian Hoyer throw, he wasn’t open at all. Just a great play all around). He also has earned praise as a route-runner, and one of the reasons he left NC State early was that he had already graduated with a degree in sports management. His physical and mental skill-set seems to fit the demanding Patriot profile.
But to answer the question, will he be a *big* contributor? I can’t see that happening without injuries. Julian Edelman will still be the top target. N’Keal Harry, the first-round pick, looked very good in his brief time Thursday before a tweaked hamstring injury put him back on the sideline. Phillip Dorsett is limited, but he was very reliable when Tom Brady threw him the ball last year. And as sharp as he may look already, it’s going to take time for Meyers to get on the same page as Brady.
I think he makes this team, and ends up being a bigger contributor than previous pass-catching flashes of previous Patriots camps like Brian Tyms, Austin Carr, and Bam Childress. A big contributor? No, that would be a surprise, and probably too much to ask. But I think they’ve found something, and he’ll have a memorable moment or two as a rookie. And the Patriots streak of keeping an undrafted free agent will reach 16 straight years. Pretty cool.
What does everyone else think? Will Jakobi Meyers be a contributor to the Patriots this year? I’ll hear you in the comments.