BEREA—With the big beard and body, Jamie Meder could be mistaken for one of the family members of A & E’s hit show ’Duck Dynasty’.
Meder has made it through the first roster cut to 75 and his odds are improving every day. Even though Ashland University is less than an hour’s drive from Berea, it can seem to be a million miles away from NCAA Division II to the NFL.
“It is amazing,” Meder sad. “Every day I wake up happy.”
Meder (6-3, 295) grew up in Parma Heights and played high school football at Valley Forge before going on to Ashland to play college football.
Meder went from the practice squad to being elevated to the active roster for the last game of the 2014 season. He originally was signed by the Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent and spent the first 10 weeks of the 2014 season on the Ravens practice squad, before joining the Browns practice squad for six weeks.
He is one of the main reasons the Browns parted ways with veterans Phil Taylor and Ishmaa’ily Kitchen. Although many players won’t admit making the team is a goal, Meder admitted it.
“It is always in the back of my mind,” he said. “I always try to put my best foot forward, hard work. If it happens, it happens.”
Meder said he isn’t about to let up going into the final preseason game and doesn’t assume he has the team made.
“No, not at all,” he said. “It is up in the air for everyone. That is why we are all here competing.”
Mike Pettine spoke highly of Meder on Monday, the day before Taylor and Kitchen were released.
“Jamie is a guy that has played very well for us,” Pettine said. “He is not a flashy guy, but he is very good with his technique and with his hands. I am very pleased with where Jamie is. We are just going to see how it all plays out. As we all know, that is a room where we have tremendous depth. Jamie is a guy that – I think (defensive coordinator Jim) O’Neil said it the other day – if you had to vote for a most improved that he would certainly be in the discussion.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Meder is the highest ranked defender during the preseason. He had five tackles, one sack and four quarterback pressures.
Meder said it has been a learning curve going from Division II football at the college level to the NFL.
“I just think I am getting a better understanding of football, especially at this level. Learning more and being able to see what is happening before it happens.”
Meder said the defensive line has good chemistry.
“I just think it is with everybody in the (defensive) line,” he said. “We all are working our hardest. We are relentless. We are flying around and getting after the ball together.
“I think it is the depth and the attitude that is being brought in the room,” he said. “Everybody wants to get after the ball, and we all have something to prove that we are some of the best in the NFL.”