The Patriots continued additions this offseason have everyone excited about the new wide receivers on the team.
DeVante Parker is already growing a rapport with quarterback Mac Jones by doing what he does best — contested catches. And despite an injury setback, second-round pick Tyquan Thornton's speed and separation ability has everyone buzzing.
Although an offense can never have too many weapons, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers remains a constantly reliable presence in New England's arsenal.
Meyers, who led the team in receptions and receiving yards in each of the last two seasons, may not be the new and exciting thing. But he was once again a pillar for the Patriots offense in training camp and projects into a high-volume role as Jones's go-to target in the slot and on third down.
According to Pro Football Focus, Meyers led the Patriots with 19 first-down conversions on third down and a team-high 35 receptions against man coverage last season.
"It takes a lot of trust to get there, and the fact that he looks for me in certain situations, I guess I must be doing some things right," Meyers told reporters on Thursday. "That could change really quickly. That's the NFL. Things change fast. That's something I have to go out there and keep proving over and over again. It doesn't really matter what I did last year."
After three seasons playing for former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Meyers spoke openly about the growing pains of adjusting to a tweaked offensive system and new coaching staff during training camp.
But after going through training camp practices and the preseason, Meyers feels like he has turned a corner mentally with the changes to the Patriots offense.
"Completely different now (compared to the start of training camp). I've been in it, made my mistakes, and learned from them, and now I feel like I'm on the right page. I understand what the coaches are thinking, and I understand what Mac is thinking," Meyers said.
Along with his own goals this season, Meyers has also noticed a different level of leadership from his starting quarterback in Mac Jones's second season.
"His leadership has been crazy this year. He's always in the building, and he knows what he wants. It's been helpful for us. We are just trying to make sure we are there for him," the Patriots wide receiver said of his quarterback.
As they head into their second season together, this will be the first time that Meyers will have the same quarterback in back-to-back seasons since entering the NFL as an undrafted rookie in 2019.
"It's pretty easy to build a connection with Mac. He's one of those guys who is just a great guy. If you were to meet him outside, you wouldn't think he was a first-round pick who has won this or won that. Accomplished this, accomplished that. You would think he's a normal goofy young man. It's easy to be around him, and that's me and all the other guys. We enjoy being around him, competing with him, for him, so like I said, he's a great guy to be around," Meyers added.
Although the Patriots are making changes to the offense that produced productive slot receivers for 20-plus years, the targets for Meyers, who works almost exclusively inside, will likely still be there.
There will always be a place for a heady, shifty slot receiver in New England, and Meyers projects into that role for at least one more season.