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2019 NFL Draft Prospect Jakobi Meyers WR NC State

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A slot receiver with size and hands

NCAA Football: Florida State at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Jakobi Meyers 6’ 2” 203 lbs WR #11 North Carolina st

North Carolina State was an enigma of a football team this year. They had a experienced QB who was actually a graduate student in Ryan Finley who will be on an NFL roster next year. They had a Rimington Award winning center in Garrett Bradbury (who I like quite a lot), a stud outside receiver in Kelvin Harmon who will be a 1st round selection in April, and Jakobi Meyers who has great hands and set a school record with 92 receptions this year. Yet the team finished 3rd in the ACC Atlantic Division, lost to Wake Forest, and got stomped in itsbowl game by Texas A&M. You would think they would have had a better year.

Our interest today is in Jakobi Meyers, is a big receiver who worked from the slot a lot this year. Jakobi was a high school dual threat QB who verbally committed to Kent State to play QB but later signed to play football at NC State.

Jakobi Meyers is a good athlete, not elite and may not test well at the Combine. We would like that because he would stay in that 3rd round range in the NFL Draft. The Jets don’t have a 2nd round pick this year. Meyers is a converted QB and has only been a receiver for the past three years.

He started off slowly in his career then gradually developed some of the nuances it takes to be a great receiver. As a freshman he played in only 7 games with 13 receptions on 19 targets for 158 yards. As a sophomore he played in 8 games, starting 2. He had 51 receptions on 81 targets for 603 yards and 4 TD’s.

All along this time Meyers worked on his route running and catching the ball. He developed great hands and he learned to catch the ball the right way, away from his body with cupped hands. Gaining your QB’s trust takes time, and by the end of his sophomore year Meyers was doing that with Ryan Finley. Over the last 3 games of 2017 and the first game of 2018 Meyers had 38 receptions for 428 yards while his much more heralded cohort Kelvin Harmon had just 17 catches for 183 yards.

Meyers had a record-setting junior season with 92 receptions for 1,047 yards and 4 TD’s. In his first game of 2018, Meyers had 14 receptions (on 15 targets) for 161 yards. Being a former QB, Meyers understood what a QB sees when he is looking for a receiver. This allowed him to transition into a receiver, knowing when to sit down in zone coverage and how to make himself a big target against man to man.

Here Meyers is working out of the slot and basically runs a “9” route towards the sideline. You can see the work that Meyers put in on catching the ball. Meyers is great at contested catches and most routes like these are a contested situation in the NFL.

Meyers has excellent concentration and makes difficult catches seam almost routine as you will soon see. Having a 6’ 2” slot receiver in the NFL can be a huge advantage, especially when the receiver excels at going up and getting the ball. Most slot corners are of the smaller variety. Many times if you switch a larger boundary corner into the slot to cover a larger receiver they struggle because they can’t press their man and the receiver has two ways to go at the snap.

This is just a nice one handed catch on a ball that should not have been thrown. Meyers is blanketed on the play, and Finley puts the ball in the only spot it could be caught.

The ball is not only thrown high. It is over the wrong shoulder. Meyers calmly makes a transition to the other foot, showing great body control as well as great concentration. This is not some swing pass. This is a firmly thrown ball that travels 30 yards in the air.

Here he does it again on an even more difficult ball to catch. Again he is bracketed on the play, and the ball is again thrown over the wrong shoulder.

He has to literally stretch out as far as he can just to reach the ball and pull it in. He actually gets his elbow down in bounds so this would have been a legal catch even in the NFL. Many receivers would not even attempt such a catch. Meyers shows not only the ability to make the catch but also the desire to want to catch every ball thrown his way.

This play here is an example of what I mentioned earlier on a ball that should never have been thrown, at least where it was thrown. The defender is actually in better position to catch the pass. This ball should have been lofted another 5 yards downfield and over the defender.

This is one way a taller slot receiver can help you out. Meyers goes up and just takes the ball away from the defender. I am sure that the CB was under the impression that this is going to be a simple interception, but it was not to be. Meyers didn’t just knock the ball away, which would have been a great play. Instead he catches the ball. This catch is almost like getting a turnover for NC State. This was a sure INT, and the offense was allowed to keep the ball and get a first down.

This play is a simple slant route run from the slot. Meyers splits the two defenders then makes a move on the safety for a 71 yard TD. I like the flip at the end so lets make him do it twice just for fun.

I showed this clip only to show that Meyers is not just a possession receiver. He is a big, strong, play-making talent who plays in the slot. He is not unlike a Michael Thomas of the Saints. He is just not that great, at least not yet. Remember Meyers has only been a receiver for 3 years. He has a long way to go to become a Thomas type talent.

Here he is again this time on a simple 5 yard out route. It is nothing special, but you force a defender to tackle a man much larger than he is. In this case Meyers breaks the tackle, and he turns it into a 25 yard score.

The ability in a one on one situation to have the strength to break a tackle can (like in this situation) turn into a game changing play. The Jets have a dire need for game changing players. I think Meyers would be a nice addition to the team.

This is another contested catch. His QB Finley does him no favors by staring him down the whole way then lofting a high arcing pass. The ball is on target, but the stare down and the time it takes for the ball to get there draws the safety in like a magnet. Meyers beats his man off the snap and get behind him on a 34 yard pass play. The safety puts a nice hit on Meyers who holds onto the ball for a nice play.

Meyers makes the catch because he caught the ball away from his body with two hands. If you keep the ball away from your frame the body will act like a shock absorber when you hit the ground. Ss long as you have strong hands, you should retain the ball.

The last clip is just a compilation of catches (4 in all) where Meyers uses his hands to catch the ball away from his body using the cupped hand method.

Meyers obviously received some good coaching in his transformation from QB to receiver. He also must have worked very hard on his technique and fundamentals to develop such great hands in a relatively short period of time. Meyers is still a work in progress. and NFL coaching should allow him more growth.

Right now I have a late second round grade on Meyers, but that will be adjusted after the Combine and workouts so I can better judge his athletic prowess. He played primarily in the slot, but many of his routes took him to the sideline and away from the middle of the field. He really doesn’t have experience with a route tree and he will need to learn the nuances of running routes in a timed passing offense.

My preference is an offense that uses “11” personnel, preferably with two slot receivers. This way you have two receivers getting a quick release (no press coverage) with release options to either side of the defender. It would be really nice to have a array of receivers to play in the slot. This Draft has two excellent and quite diverse players to choose from. You have Meyers the taller, broader more physical type and Marquise Brown from Oklahoma 5’ 10 175 lb speedster who is quick as a cat and can change direction on a dime.

Having both would be great with Robby Anderson on the outside and Chris Herndon at TE. Quincy Enunwa would rotate in and out or be the 4th WR. He can also play in the slot, which would give Sam Darnold some very good weapons. Also using two slot receivers gives Darnold some quick developing routes so he can get the ball out of his hands faster.

It’s always nice to dream. Let me know what you think of Jakobi...