Las Vegas Raiders WR Jakobi Meyers

Las Vegas Raiders WR Jakobi Meyers Is Better At Football Than You Think, And The Analytics Prove It

Matching the production of Las Vegas Raiders star wideout Davante Adams is an almost unrealistic proposition. Throughout his last four campaigns, Adams has totaled 5,587 receiving yards with 51 touchdowns on 441 receptions. This level of production is second-to-none league-wide. And yet, while the volume numbers of Jakobi Meyers fall incomparably short to Adams’, Meyers was able to keep up—and surpass—his first-team All-Pro teammate in many analytical categories this past season.

Davante Adams has a true partner in crime; Jakobi Meyers, who’s much better at football than the NFL-world wants to admit.

The tandem of Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler came to Las Vegas in 2022 as Raiders owner Mark Davis ushered in ‘The Patriot Way’—a methodology that took over Sin City for a long-standing 21 months. During these 21 months, the duo of McDaniels and Ziegler made a seemingly innumerable amount of head-scratching moves that, through their eyes, were needed to construct a winning roster.

Such moves include extending Derek Carr, only to release him the following offseason prior to playing a single down on his extension. Carr’s replacement was Jimmy Garoppolo, who struck a three-year deal with Ziegler to quarterback in Las Vegas. After one season, Garoppolo was no longer with the Raiders. The mistreatment of Josh Jacobs left a sour taste in Jacobs’ mouth as he fled for Green Bay, and the Chandler Jones situation—let’s skip past that one.

Much to the surprise of virtually nobody, aside from McDaniels and Ziegler, these moves resulted in losing football. Under this duo, the Raiders posted a record of 9-16 immediately following a 10-7 season in 2021.

But among the many hard-on-the-eyes moves made by this duo stands one large success: Jakobi Meyers.

A star is blossoming for the Las Vegas Raiders, and his name is Jakobi Meyers

When the Silver and Black first inked Meyers to a three-year, $33 million deal, plenty of skepticism circulated throughout Raider Nation.

How couldn’t there have been skepticism? To fit Meyers’ contract in the books, now-former Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler shipped Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller across the country. Beyond that, Meyers was well-noted for having two NFL records: The most receptions without a touchdown in NFL history (131), and most receiving yards without a touchdown in NFL history (1,511).

But after just one season in Sin City, that skepticism vanished.

For some of Raider Nation, Darren Waller’s struggles in New York is largely why this exchange is now glorified. Waller spent one season with the Giants, posting 552 yards and one touchdown prior to retiring earlier this month.

For others, the victory lies in Meyers’ prolific performances on the field. Considering Meyers is the 30th-highest paid receiver league-wide, his dominance last season truly is a triumph worth celebrating.

Although the words “prolific” and “dominant” may seem like stretches, they do accurately describe Meyers’ level of play in 2023. And while his volume stats of 71 receptions, 807 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns aren’t cause for many wows, his analytics being superior to All-Pro teammate Davante Adams in many categories is.

The analytics: Jakobi Meyers vs Davante Adams and his Raiders teammates

Before getting into the numbers, it’s important to note the comparisons between the Raiders’ two wideouts is not an attempt to lift one higher than the counterpart. Instead, Meyers is being compared to Adams based on the fact that Davante Adams is Davante Adams – an elite receiver in the National Football League.

Adams sets the bar to a near-untouchable level, and those who match it deserve flowers thrown their way.

Among the five receivers on the team to receive any amount of targets in 2023, Meyers’ 99.1 quarterback rating when targeted stood the tallest. His 64.8% first down rate reigned supreme to Adams’ 57.3%, as did his 11.3% touchdown percentage in comparison to Adams’ mark of 7.3%.

Jakobi was able to produce better percentages because he was masterful at creating for himself.

Not only did his six broken tackles lead all pass catchers on the Raiders’ roster by double, but his 1.9% drop percentage was the lowest mark among all Raiders with at least 20 receptions, per Pro Football Reference. Pro Football Focus credited Meyers with eight forced missed tackles; the same amount as his All-Pro teammate, on 32 fewer receptions.

When it came to being blanked in coverage, no Raider delivered like Meyers. The 27-year-old had a contested catch percentage of 52.4%, which not only was the highest at his position in Sin City but was notably higher than Adams’ 35.3%. It’s important to note Davante Adams had the second-most targets in tight coverage (34) league-wide while Jakobi Meyers’ mark of 21 was 33rd-highest. However, in 13 fewer targets, Meyers totaled only one less contested catch (11) than his counterpart (12).

But what else should we expect from the player who hauled in 13 contested receptions in 2022 with a contested catch percentage of 56.5%?

Then, there’s the versatility.

1-2-3: First-most receiving touchdowns, second-most rushing touchdowns, third-most passing touchdowns

Meyers came to Las Vegas as a slot-dominant receiver who offered a little bit of everything. In both the ’21 and ’22 seasons, the former Patriot lined up in the slot over 65% of the time. In 2023, the first-year Raiders receiver was able to prove his dominance out-wide courtesy of 71.8% snaps taken on the outside and only 28% inside.

And just as he did in the past, Meyers shined in the slot on his limited 28% of snaps.

His 19 receptions inside came second to only Hunter Renfrow, although his 67.9% reception percentage bested all of his teammates, including Renfrow. No Raider came close to Meyers’ 15 first downs when lined up at the slot; even Renfrow, who mustered up the team’s second-highest mark of nine. Then there’s the three inside touchdowns Jakobi was able to post—a number that may not seem high but is more than the sum of his teammates combined.

It would be enough to praise Meyers’ versatility based on his dominance both inside and out-wide alone, but it doesn’t stop there.

Although Adams and Meyers tied for most receiving touchdowns in Las Vegas last season, the latter reached double-digit all-purpose scores by finding the end zone in a variety of different ways. While Josh Jacobs led the team with six rushing touchdowns, Meyers was by himself in second with two as he surpassed both Zamir White and Aidan O’Connell.

The wideout also added a touchdown through the air on a pass to Adams. Despite attempting a mere 3 passing attempts last season, Meyers finished third in touchdown passes behind O’Connell and Jimmy Garoppolo. Even Brian Hoyer, who started a contest under center, tossed fewer touchdowns.

Finding the end zone as a receiver, runner and quarterback; that’s elite versatility.

*Top Photo: Ian Maule/Getty Images

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