DETROIT — Jakobi Meyers will tell you he doesn't feel like he has anything to prove to people as an undrafted rookie trying to make the Patriots roster. Especially not the 31 other teams in the league that could've drafted him . . . multiple times.
But he does. He has people he knows, people buzzing his phone, wondering if what they've heard about his practice performances in training camp have been true.
"I was getting a lot of texts about ‘Oh, I heard you were doing so great in practice?’ But it didn’t mean anything because we didn’t have a game yet," Meyers said Thursday night. "So just the fact that I can go out there and show that I deserve to be here for now. I’m just trying to keep pushing forward."
Meyers proved he deserves to be here for more than just the time being in his team's preseason-opening 31-3 win over the Lions. He played 44 snaps and caught six passes on eight targets for 69 yards and two touchdowns.
Meyers worked his way through physical coverage from safety Miles Killebrew to haul in one touchdown from Brian Hoyer. Then he shook corner Mike Ford at the line of scrimmage with a subtle fake to the outside to score on a slant from Jarrett Stidham for score No. 2.
There was also the sneaky-good play Meyers made late in the second quarter that deserves some recognition. When Stidham tried to find him on a fade down the sideline in the end zone, he turned into a defensive back and broke up the pass that looked like it was due to be intercepted.
"I want to be great," Meyers said, "and I want to be in a position where they can depend on me, trust in me on tough downs."
Thursday was only confirmation that Patriots quarterbacks do trust the NC State product despite his draft status — or lack thereof.
He's been a favorite of Tom Brady in the last week or so, and he's made acrobatic contested catches consistently throughout the course of training camp, matching contested-catch fiend N'Keal Harry highlight-for-highlight.
At a position group that was loaded with question marks going into the summer, Meyers took his opportunity at Ford Field to continue to make the case that he can be an answer. Along with Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett, the combination of Meyers with Harry and free-agent acquisition Maurice Harris gives the Patriots some intriguing physical skill sets at their disposal.
But Meyers is more than just leaping ability and good hands. What he does at the tops of routes to get open, how he frees himself at the line of scrimmage — those things look like they'll play at the pro level.
And while he put on a memorable show for those who'd only heard about his practice performances before now, he's not making any assumptions about where he'll be in September.
"I have to keep proving to my coaches that I deserve to be here," he said. "I’m not on the team yet. I’m trying to make sure I can stay here and continue to be here. That’s really who I’m trying to prove a point to, not really to people who didn’t give me the call."
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