We all like to live in the here and now. What is here and definitely now is New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. He is coming off a very nice game against the Buffalo Bills: seven receptions, 79 yards and two touchdowns. Despite those numbers, it is not smart to think Edelman can continue to produce like this.
First off, Julian Edelman was a quarterback at Kent State University. Bill Belichick drafted Edelman because he saw the potential for Edelman to become a slot receiver in the NFL. So Edelman has always been in transition from QB to wide receiver, which has shown from time to time.
Edelman’s best production has come as a punt returner. He has returned three punts for touchdowns, and is a consistent return threat. His game was at its best when he was a young backup to veteran slot receiver Wes Welker. That way, the pressure wasn’t on Edelman to produce on offense.
Speaking of production on offense, Edelman hasn’t had much of it. His best season was his rookie year, in which Edelman caught 37 passes for 359 yards and one touchdown. That was when Wes Welker missed a couple of games due to injury. Even then, Edelman was not able to make Patriots fans forget about Welker (though that is hard to do).
Edelman could not even make Belichick forget about wide receiver Deion Branch. After wide receiver Randy Moss was traded in 2010, Branch came back and immediately started opposite of Welker. For a season-and-a-half, Edelman was unable to wrench the No. 2 receiver job away from Branch. That isn’t good considering that Branch was old and on the decline.
There was even a brief period in 2012 where Edelman was playing ahead of Welker. For some reason, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels thought that Edelman would be an upgrade over Welker. That clearly was not the case, and McDaniels soon promoted Welker back into the starting lineup.
So Edelman has had several opportunities to secure a starting wide receiver spot, and he has failed. He has proven time and again that he should be a backup slot receiver that should only play if the starting slot receiver is injured. That is the case for now, as Danny Amendola is nursing a groin injury. But once Amendola gets healthy, he should regain his job, pushing Edelman to fourth or fifth on the depth chart.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.