Many people thought the New England Patriots were grooming wide receiver Gunner Olszewski to be Julian Edelman’s successor as the slot receiver. And it made sense as we’ve seen him on special teams and as a returner. Similarly to how Edelman was transitioned onto the field. As camp goes on it’s appearing that it’s not Olszewski who will be taking over for Edelman. It will most likely be Jakobi Meyers.
After going undrafted in 2019, Meyers stepped on the scene as the most productive wide receiver last season. He finished the season having reeled in 59 receptions for 729 yards while grabbing 72.8 percent of his targets. Meyers averaged 12.8 yards per reception, good for 52.1 yards per game and the most on the team last year.
At 6’2”, 200 lbs, Meyers has been utilized as a do-it-all type of receiver while with the New England Patriots. We’ve seen him run the deep routes and the in-and-out crossing patterns from all over the field. In fact, Meyers is arguably the best route runner on the Patriots this year. And that’s why he’s getting the nod to be the team’s slot receiver. He understands how to run routes and how to get open.
— Justin Trombino (@Trombino20) August 9, 2021
New England Patriots Hall of Fame inductee and legend, Troy Brown, has been coaching with the team in some capacity since 2016. He is now the wide receivers coach for the Patriots. A role that he once served as a player for the team and became a three-time Super Bowl champion. Brown believes that Meyers has prepared himself for this feat and is up for the challenges that come with being the slot receiver for the New England Patriots.
“I think he just sat back and he watched Julian do it for the last two or three years. He took down some notes and he incorporated it into his game. It took a lot of hard work for him to get to a point where he felt comfortable to go in there and work it. He earned the right to play in there the last couple years and now he has to fight for a spot to go out there and do it again this year.
But that’s really all he did, he sat back and he watched, studied tape and came out here and did it against the air and against players. It didn’t always look pretty at times but you have to go through that if you want to have a spot on this football team. It’s going to be ugly at times but you have to live with that.” – Troy Brown, via Next Pats Podcast
Over the last 20 years in New England, we’ve seen the slot receiver position successfully run by Brown, Wes Welker, Edelman, and Danny Amendola. All four of these receivers are under six-feet tall. That could be a testament to their skill set to play the slot receiver position. However, Meyers is built a little differently than the past slot receivers. As previously mentioned, he is 6’2” and not the fastest. But is quick and shifty enough to be an elusive playmaker out of the inside for the Pats.
Brown mentioned how Meyers’ body structure might be different than most who play the position, however the skills are generally still the same. He went on to say that Meyers is deserving of the opportunity that is coming his way. Due to his hard work and determination to be a contributor on the Pats.
“There’s different body types that can do different things. He has some shiftiness to him, he has some quickness, he has some different skill sets that has allowed him to come out here and learn the way Jules did things, and you know the guys before him did things. He worked his butt off to get to the point where he is – he helped us win some games last year and the year before.” – Troy Brown, via Next Pats Podcast
The Patriots’ wide receiver depth chart is shaping up to be Nelson Agoholor, Kendrick Bourne, with Meyers in the slot. Followed by N’Keal Harry as the fourth option. With Olszewski, Tre Nixon, Devin Ross, and Isaiah Zuber filling out the rest of the position with depth. The important thing to remember with New England’s air attack this year is that it’s going to be featured around their talented tight end duo of Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry.
I don’t anticipate any of the wide receivers to have breakout seasons this year. Nevertheless, I’d say that Meyers is going to lead all wide receivers on the team this year. He will even score his first career touchdown.
-Justin Trombino (@ Trombino20 on Twitter)
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