Jakobi Meyers Went From a Bottom-Of-The-Roster ‘Cockroach’ to a Pivotal Piece of the Patriots’ Postseason Pursuit: ‘We’d Find a Way to Stay Alive’

Article Highlights:

  • New England Patriots receiver Jakobi Meyers has come a long way since his ‘cockroach’ days
  • An undrafted rookie in 2019, the North Carolina State product has played multiple roles in New England
  • Meyers has become a pivotal player in the Patriots’ playoff pursuit and the Mac Jones era

In hindsight, perhaps the best thing that could have happened to New England Patriots receiver Jakobi Meyers was going unselected in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Although he didn’t hear his name called nearly three springs ago, Meyers used his skill set and work ethic to find a home on the Patriots’ roster at the end of the Tom Brady era. As rookie quarterback Mac Jones continues showing he’s the right man to succeed Brady, he’s received significant help in the form of a self-described former “cockroach.”

Jakobi Meyers has come a long way since his ‘cockroach’ days in the 2019 preseason

When Meyers first suited up for the Patriots in the 2019 preseason, he wore No. 69, a number you normally wouldn’t associate with offensive skill players. In fact, only offensive and defensive linemen are allowed to wear numbers in the 60s.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has a history of making players earn their stripes and numbers, and Meyers was no different. However, the rookie wideout didn’t need long to prove himself, hauling in six catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns in his first preseason game.

Meyers ended his first NFL preseason leading all players in receptions (20) and receiving yards (253). In a recent interview with NBC Sports’ Peter King, the North Carolina State product reflected on how he and fellow receiver Gunner Olszewski, another 2019 undrafted rookie, fought their way onto the Patriots’ roster and have managed to stick around.

“Me and Gunner used to make jokes like we were cockroaches,” Meyers said. “No matter who they brought in, we’d find a way to stay alive.”

If Brady’s departure following the 2019 season marked a nuclear bomb dropping in Foxborough, then the two making it this far proves they are definitely cockroaches. Trust us on that one.

Meyers has grown into a pivotal part of the Patriots’ post-Tom Brady era

Meyers exemplifies everything Belichick wants in a player regardless of where they’ve been drafted or how much they’re earning in guaranteed money. The third-year receiver can line up for a pass, jump in under center to play quarterback on a gadget play, and contribute on special teams if the Patriots need another body.

Through the 2021 season’s first 10 games, Meyers hauled in 50 catches for 483 yards. He caught two two-point conversions, completed both of his pass attempts for 45 yards, and had a 7-yard punt return in Week 9. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2020, Meyers has 109 catches and 1,212 yards to his name. Not bad for a receiver who went unselected three years ago.

Meyers’ hard work finally paid off in a Week 10 rout over oft-criticized quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. Late in a 45-7 home victory, Meyers took a short pass from backup Brian Hoyer and turned it into his first career endzone.

The third-year receiver needed 135 career catches across 39 games to finally make one count; penalties had overturned multiple touchdowns he’d snagged since entering the league. Roughly 15 to 20 Patriots players rushed Meyers and celebrated with him in the end zone.

“​​That was the best part of scoring,” Meyers told King. “We got the chance to celebrate together. That made it all worth it.”

Meyers’ emergence is yet another testament to Bill Belichick’s roster management, both good and bad

Patriots fans need to accept two significant facts when discussing Meyers’ importance to the six-time Super Bowl champions. On the one hand, he’s grown into a pivotal piece of the post-Brady era and has displayed excellent chemistry with Jones, the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft.

However, Meyers’ success and overall role in the offense is also another red mark on Belichick’s drafting. The legendary head coach infamously selected N’Keal Harry, who at this point is earning rave reviews for his blocks, rather than Ole Miss’ AJ Brown or South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel, in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Brown, who the Titans selected 19 picks after the Patriots added Harry, earned Pro Bowl honors in 2020 and has 41 catches for 567 yards and three touchdowns in nine games this year. Samuel, the 36th overall selection two years ago, is on track to earn All-Pro honors after totaling 54 catches, 979 yards, and five touchdowns through the 49ers’ first nine games.

At least the Patriots came away from the 2019 offseason with Meyers. He’s scoring touchdowns, Jones is winning games, and New England is 6-4 and apace to return to the postseason. Leave it to a cockroach to ensure the Patriots’ rebuild doesn’t go on for too long.

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