Many fans started to get very, very nervous when tons and tons of talented wide receivers were pulled off the board. Eric Decker to the Broncos, Andre Roberts to the Cardinals, Mardy Gilyard to the Rams, Marcus Easley, and….well, you get the picture. Many agreed that it was very nice to beef up our lines with defensive tackle, guard, and center in the middle rounds, but the extremely deep wide receiver class was running thin very quickly and the Falcons hadn’t pulled the trigger on a receiver. The receiving corps went to being one of major strengths to a pretty big weakness with the injury to Harry Douglas, sub-par year from Michael Jenkins, and really no threat outside of Roddy White. After Dimitroff moved up to snag CB Dominique Franks, the name “Kerry Meier” scrolled across the board with the Birds second 5th round pick. A collective WHO? was likely gasped by the vast majority of Falcons fans.
After the initial shock wore off and fans scrambled to research Meier, they found an especially productive wide receiver at the University of Kansas. Meier will never be mistaken for a burner (4.65 forty time), but he’s a receiver who is exceptionally smart from his days as a converted quarterback, knows how to get open, and catches everything thrown his way. Meier is very quick and uses his large frame (6’2, 224) very well to catch the ball. Is never afraid to go over the middle and make the grab. Even though he really only had 2 full seasons as a starter at Kansas, Meier leaves with the all-time receptions record (226) and single season receptions record (102). The Kansas wideout averaged 100 receptions, 1,000 yards, and 8 touchdowns a year his junior and senior seasons. Meier may not get tons of yards after the catch and surely is no homerun threat, but he may be the perfect receiver to move the chains and could very well be the new Brian Finneran with his good route running, sure hands, and red-zone threat.
The answer is most likely yes, but you just never know with all the talent jockeying for one of the sacred wide receiver spots. The Falcons carried 5 wideouts last year in Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, Marty Booker, Eric Weems, Brian Finneran, and Troy Bergeron was activated several times but never played. With Harry Douglas only 9 months removed from an ACL injury, Jenkins disappearing act, Finneran’s injury, and little to no production from Booker or Weems, the receivers were one of the weaker positions on the roster. There was Roddy White last year and…………Roddy White. Many would think that Meier’s a lock because he was drafted in the 5th round, but Smith and Dimitroff have shown (for the most part) that the best man will win and get the spot. Eric Weems knows what’s at stake, Finneran will make one last push and is a locker room favorite, and not to mention the heat he’s getting from the undrafted free agents Ryan Wolfe and Tim Buckley, but especially Brandyn Harvey. Meier had a very good mini-camp and is still a favorite, but he shouldn’t get too comfortable.
The Falcons have their Pro Bowl receiver in Roddy White, their complementary receiver in Michael Jenkins (even though that’s another debate altogether), and hopefully a healthy Harry Douglas to stretch the field. So where exactly will Meier fit? One answer is for Meier to ease into the rotation, working as a 4th or 5th wide receiver and getting in mainly on obvious passing downs. Logic has it that Meier will be fighting with Weems to be the 4th option in the rotation, where he can use his skill set best, finding open spots and using his great hands for catches to move the chains. What if Harry Douglas rehab goes slower than expected? Aren’t the Falcons in the same predicament as last year? Although Meier isn’t a burner and can’t truly stretch the field, Meier could seemingly work as a slot receiver in case Douglas doesn’t return to form. Reason is because Meier knows the field so well as a former quarterback that he could find the soft zones in coverages and be a very nice complement to Tony Gonzalez in the middle of the field. For his part, Weems definitely didn’t take advantage of the huge opportunity last year.
-What grade would you give Dimitroff for taking Meier?
-Is Meier more or less a lock to make the team?
-Could Meier work as a slot?
-Finally, what are your expectations for Meier this season?