NFL: Preseason-New England Patriots at Detroit Lions

New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers holds the ball after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Thursday night.

DETROIT — Whether it’s Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham, the results seem to be the same for Jakobi Meyers.

The undrafted rookie has quickly gone from the surprise of training camp to the star of the Patriots’ first preseason game against the Detroit Lions on Thursday night at Ford Field. After connecting with Brady in practice over the last couple of weeks, Meyers excelled with both Hoyer and Stidham.

This rookie hasn’t looked like your prototypical undrafted receiver all summer. He looked like a veteran, leading the Patriots in a 31-3 trouncing of the Lions with six catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns, from two quarterbacks.

What’s been the key to this success?

“Want to and listening. I want to be great. I want to be in a position where they can depend on me, trust on me,” Meyers said. “At the same time, we’ve got a lot of great players on our team. All I can do is listen. I’m doing what they tell me to do, and I stick around.”

This summer, the undrafted, 6-foot-2, 200-pound rookie out of North Carolina State has emerged as one of the Patriots’ biggest surprises. There have been a handful of practices during which Meyers looked like the team’s best receiver. As of now, he’s the best bet for the next undrafted player to make the Patriots’ 53-man roster.

In practice, he’s routinely with the projected starters, and Brady has actively targeted him over other receivers on the field. Of course, having success in practice is one thing. Doing it in a game is different. Against the Lions, he made a statement. He said that was the goal after standing out in practice.

“I was getting a lot of texts like, ‘Oh, I heard you were doing great in practice.’ But it doesn’t mean anything because we didn’t have a game,” Meyers said. “The fact that I can go out there and show that I deserve to be there for now, you know. I’m just trying to push forward.”

The first pass to go Meyers’ way Thursday was deflected, but after that, he was tough to stop. During the Patriots’ second drive, the rookie caught two passes in three plays, including a 3-yard touchdown from Hoyer at 8:38 of the second quarter.

On the next drive, Stidham was inserted into the lineup and had similar results with Meyers. At 4:33 of the second, Meyers hauled in a 5-yard touchdown for his second score of the game.

In the Patriots’ fourth drive, Meyers showed to be a deep threat as well when he hauled in a 26-yard pass at 1:30 of the second. On the first play in the third quarter, he hauled in a 17-yard pass.

“Good football player. Young football player. Very eager to learn,” Patriots safety Duron Harmon said. “Makes some nice grabs in practice before we went to practice with the Lions, while we were at practice with the Lions and here tonight during the game. Obviously, he shows that he’s capable of making plays and just got to keep it going.”

A performance like Meyers’ makes people wonder how he went undrafted. A former quarterback, he transitioned to receiver after his redshirt freshman season at N.C. State.

Last season, Meyers broke Torry Holt’s single-season record with 92 receptions to go with 1,047 yards.

As for the possibility Meyers has been extra motivated since going undrafted, he said that’s not the case.

“I don’t have time to really think about what I have to prove to people who don’t, I don’t want to say matter, but 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 who I’m trying to prove a point to. Not really to the people who didn’t give me the call.”

Of course, Meyers isn’t surprised by his success.

“I wouldn’t say surprised. I’m thankful,” he said. “Guys have put me in position. All I have to do is take advantage of it. Surprise would be my go-to work. I’m not satisfied, either. At the same time, I’ve got to keep going forward, and hopefully more is to come.”