Jakobi Meyers is in the midst of what could be a career season.
Through four games played, he's averaging more than six receptions and 69 receiving yards a game. His three touchdown catches are also already half of his career-high in a single season.
Meyers entered this league with a chip on his shoulder. After breaking the school single-season receptions record at NC State, he went undrafted in the 2018 NFL Draft. The New England Patriots called him up and signed him as a UDFA.
Josh McDaniels did his research on Meyers, believing he had all the tools to become the receiver he is now. He thinks Meyers' 4.63 40-yard dash time coming out of college might've hindered his stock.
"[H]e was a productive guy in college at NC State," McDaniels said. "He's a guy who is a former quarterback, so he had a kind of a cerebral understanding of the passing game from a different perspective, which I think helps receivers when they do that. He had great hands in college, that was not something that we taught him how to do. I think his work ethic, has great character, very intelligent kid, you have a lot of traits there that you'd love to work with.
"Didn't necessarily test crazy in terms of overall numbers and those kinds of things, which sometimes those things hurt guys but shouldn't. In Jakobi's case, obviously he fell and we were fortunate to have an opportunity to get him."
Meyers produced his best season under McDaniels in 2021, the year before the former Pats OC took the head coaching job with the Raiders. Meyers led the Patriots in receiving yards and catches, and accomplished the same feat in 2022. His chemistry with McDaniels as a play-caller led to him making the decision to sign with the Silver and Black when he entered free agency.
"Smart dude. Like anybody, everyone has their own ways, but he's definitely a smart dude," Meyers said of his first impressions of McDaniels. "He knows football. He knows the game. I like to be around him."
Another coach Meyers worked extensively with is Raiders offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi, who served as the receivers coach with the Patriots. Lombardi takes pleasure in seeing how much the receiver has grown from New England to now, and labels him as a true professional.
"Jakobi has always wanted to try and get better and try and improve," said Lombardi. "He's changed his body, formed a routine, is very dedicated to his craft and just overall his knowledge of defenses and defensive structure and how to run routes and releases has improved so much. It's still improving, and he wants to get better. ... He's still growing. He's still a young player, but I'm very proud of him and what he's accomplished. He always plays a big role for us as a team. I have a lot of close feelings for Jakobi Meyers."
Meyers learned a lot in his four seasons in Massachusetts. He's now taking what he's learned in his young career and is passing it forward to his teammates on the Raiders, evolving into a locker room leader and reliable presence.
"Doing the hard things right. At the end of the day, it's all business," Meyers said. "I understand the business side of football. I understand how to think on the other side of the line. As far as a player, I would definitely say [I learned] to do the hard things right. It's easy to just take the easy way out, but the little hard things are the ones that separate you. The little details."
Week 6 in Allegiant Stadium, he hopes to apply the knowledge he acquired with his former team – against them.
Other notable connections
The following players were members of the New England Patriots:
The following coaches and front office personnel were members of the Patriots:
- General Manager Dave Ziegler (2013-21)
- Head Coach Josh McDaniels (2001-08, 2012-21)
- Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham (2009-15)
- Senior defensive sssistant Rob Ryan (2000-03)
- Offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi (2011-12, 2019-21)
- Quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree (2021)
- Tight ends coach Jerry Schuplinski (2013-18)
- Patriots tackle Trent Brown played with the Raiders from 2019-20, starting 16 games.
- Patriots tight end Pharaoh Brown played with the Raiders in 2017, appearing in two games (one start).
- Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson is from Las Vegas, Nevada, and attended Centennial High School.
- Patriots defensive lineman Lawrence Guy Sr. is also from Las Vegas, Nevada, and attended Western High School.
View team photographer Matt Aguirre's top 30 photos from Allegiant Stadium's catwalk during the Las Vegas Raiders' Week 5 victory against the Green Bay Packers.