The Detroit Lions don’t have a massive amount of money to spend in the 2022 NFL free agency period. They need a WR1, but they don’t have enough funds for one. So, they should look to acquire Jakobi Meyers on a multi-year deal. He’s a restricted free agent, which means the Patriots could match the Lions’ offer, but New England currently has less space than Detroit.
2022 NFL Free Agency: Why Jakobi Meyers is a fit for the Detroit Lions
Meyers isn’t the most physically gifted receiver, but he is an outstanding route runner that creates separation early in routes and on shorter and intermediate routes. He won’t command a high aDOT (average depth of target), nor will he excel after the catch. But Meyers is a reliable option for an offense that doesn’t push the ball downfield, which is characteristic of the Lions with Jared Goff under center.
However, Goff won’t play for the Lions forever (or for much longer at all). And that doesn’t change much in terms of Meyers’ fit with the franchise. Young quarterbacks are often helped by a slot option that can win underneath, especially in third-and-short situations. That is where Meyers will be most valuable, although his game complements Goff well also.
Who is Jakobi Meyers?
Meyers scored his first NFL touchdown in 2021 as a three-year NFL veteran. It was one of the more incredible droughts ever because he hadn’t lacked playing time, targets, or receptions.
Meyers was undrafted out of North Carolina State after converting from QB to WR during his sophomore season. In his first full season as a receiver, he caught 63 passes for 727 yards. In his final college season, he caught 92 passes for 1,047 yards. Nevertheless, despite the production and an outstanding Senior Bowl performance, Meyers went undrafted.
Meyers didn’t test off the charts, but his 6.36 Relative Athletic Score must not have impressed evaluators much. At nearly 6’2″, 205 pounds, he ran poorly and didn’t test like an agile athlete.
We Twitter scouts can often have a high opinion of ourselves, but Draft Twitter was right about Meyers. In New England, he was immediately a good option in the slot, and his size was welcomed on the inside compared to many traditional slot receivers.
How exactly does he help the Detroit Lions?
We all want the sexy players on our favorite teams, but the Lions simply aren’t there yet with their cap situation. Meyers’ mind makes him a weapon against zone coverage. I want to think his background as a quarterback is why he is so adept at finding the soft spots in zone coverage, but I can’t be sure.
However, I am sure of his ability to separate in the intermediate area of the field.
He looks pretty flexible, too. Everything about this rep is beautiful. He leans into Chauncey Gardner-Johnson as he stems inside. Popping up a bit changes the pace of the route and allows him to be more controlled on his break.
But the real beauty here is Meyers’ transition from the lean to shimmy with the right shoulder to his snapping back the other way. Gardner-Johnson is leaning so hard to take the over route away that he trips Meyers going the opposite direction. There was no mirroring Meyers here.
Meyers’ intelligence as a route runner will be a welcome addition to what’s likely to become an uber-young receiving corps in Detroit. There’s a chance he’s the elder statesman of the first group if they draft another receiver early.