The chatter regarding the North Carolina State Wolfpack wide receivers is centered around Kelvin Harmon – as it should be. Harmon has first round ability and profiles as an X receiver in the NFL. He’s an exciting playmaker and one of only just two receivers in the ACC to top the 1,000-yard mark in 2017.
But it’s time to talk about Harmon’s teammate, Jakobi Meyers, who has blossomed into a good prospect in his own right. In fact, over the Pack’s last four games, Meyers is far out-producing Harmon. Dating back to NC State’s last three games in 2017 and the 2018 opener, Meyers has 38 receptions for 428 yards while Harmon has just 17 catches for 183 yards. Quarterback Ryan Finley is looking Meyers way and he is rewarding those decisions.
Most recently in NC State’s opener against James Madison, Meyers was targeted a game-high 15 times with him hauling in 14 of those passes for 161 yards en route to ACC Wide Receiver of the Week Honors for Week 1.
It’s time to take Meyers seriously as a prospect.
Meyers came to Raleigh a quarterback but transitioned to the wide receiver position the week prior to the 2016 season opener. He’s only played the position for two years and his skill set is already one that is exciting.
NC State’s offense is generally run with good timing and pace, so it’s critical for receivers to work to their spots on schedule. Meyers’ experience at quarterback is favorable when considering the mental side of playing the position and how all the pieces of the offense work together.
Running a dig route, Meyers breaks between zones and controls his pace to make sure he is available for Finley to hit him over the middle of the field. While it’s a fairly simple route, how Meyers adjusts his frame and extends back for the football with pending contact is impressive given how natural he looks doing it.
Facing a critical third and long against JMU, holding just a 17-13 lead with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Finley looks to none other than Meyers for a crucial completion.
On this play, Meyers runs an out route right at the sticks, snaring the pass between two defenders and hanging on through contact. Meyers brings in the clutch reception and it’s obvious that he is a fearless worker and competitor given how intent he was on securing the football.
In case you are mitigating these clips because it came against an FCS team, I’m here to tell you he torched both Florida State (5 rec, 112 yards, TD) and Clemson (9 rec, 105 yards, TD) in 2017 to the tune of a combined 14 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns. He’s handling his business against top competition.
Remember when there was concerns that Derwin James was “struggling” last year because he missed a tackle in space that led to a 71-yard touchdown against NC State? Well the dude that made the play was Meyers.
Making a phenomenal athlete and first round pick like James look silly speaks to his ability to win post-catch. Meyers isn’t a burner or overly elusive, but he is a competitor that works after the catch with outstanding field awareness.
My favorite thing about Meyers in this stage of his development is his body control and focus at the catch point. Things often appear to slow down for him when the ball arrives and he is hyper-focused. Whether it’s working for the ball in a contested situation or snagging a pass along the sideline, Meyers looks like he’s played the position for his entire life.
Meyers’ evolution as a receiver and the production that has followed is highly encouraging. Make no mistake about it, Meyers isn’t a finished product and there is still growth needed. Becoming more nuanced as a route runner and developing his hand and footwork in his releases is important. Improving as a route salesman and attacking leverage with more consistency is still something we need to see.
Meyers has found a home at wide receiver, and the way he is playing demands our attention as an NFL prospect. Welcome to the radar, Jakobi.