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Graney: Raiders receiver adept at shooting hoops, catching passes

If you polled any Raiders player about which five would make for the best starters on a basketball team, the name Jakobi Meyers would be a unanimous selection.

He agrees.

“Of course, of course,” Meyers said.

“I do what I have to do and fit in. I’m probably a (shooting guard), but really just want to sit in the corner and shoot. But if they need me to play a little defense or dribble, I’ll do that.”

He’ll be a team leader. Just like on the football field.

No one works harder. That’s straight from coach Antonio Pierce’s mouth. Meyers, the Raiders No. 2 wide receiver, seemed to always produce throughout last season’s 8-9 finish.

He could do so again this year.

Continue to improve

Think about it: Meyers caught 71 balls for 807 yards and eight touchdowns in 2023 despite having passes aimed at him from the likes of Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie Aidan O’Connell.

The Raiders need Meyers — now in his sixth season — to continue raising the bar. They need a consistent complement to No. 1 Davante Adams when Adams receives heavy attention from opposing defenses. They need the shooting guard to make as many plays on the grass as he does on the court.

“I think the goal for all of us is to continue to improve and get better in each category, whether that’s as a route runner or blocker or carrying the football,” Raiders wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett said. “We’ve never reached a certain level where we can take a breath. We have to continue pushing forward and keep improving. That’s (Meyers’) mindset. I don’t think he’ll ever be satisfied with where he’s at.”

Meyers is like anyone on offense right now, trying to learn and perfect new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s scheme. On where to be and when. On what each call means. On how best to execute things.

Meyers is receiving passes from O’Connell and veteran Gardner Minshew. Each had forgettable days when the Raiders opened mandatory minicamp Tuesday. Neither separated himself. It didn’t stop a player like Meyers from continuing to practice at a high level, however.

“We’re all still trying to learn and there has been some growing pains,” Meyers said. “I feel a lot of my (improvement) is from off the field — preparing better, working harder, getting myself ready to play a whole season.

“You can see both (quarterbacks) want it. That’s what you want at the end of the day.”

Meyers spent his first four seasons with the Patriots and the knock on him was this: He couldn’t find the end zone. He had just eight receiving touchdowns in New England, with six coming his final year.

He also has yet to have a 1,000-yard season. He had a career-best 866 receiving yards in 2021.

None of it seems to bother him very much.

You never know

“I honestly don’t care,” said Meyers, who signed a three-year, $33 million contract with the Raiders in March of last year. “I just like playing football. Whatever they say, I’m going to be out there playing regardless. It should be hard. It should be different. If it wasn’t, everybody could do it. If something like 1,000 yards comes, it will. If it doesn’t, I’ll be back next year … hopefully.”

It’s the NFL. It’s a snap-to-snap, game-to-game, season-to-season existence. So you never know.

This much we do: Jakobi Meyers is intent on improving from what was a productive first season in Las Vegas.

And he’s apparently one heck of a basketball player.

Ed Graney, a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing, can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on X.

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