Julian Edelman Ironman
Julian Edelman isn’t exactly a household name but it should be in the NFL. This guy is true ironman the latest player to pull double duty playing both offense and defense and even returning kicks when asked. He is now facing stiff competition from 10 other receivers and hasn’t worked out at defensive back yet this season.
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Julian Edelman is best known as a receiver for the Patriots who filled in for Wes Welker his rookie season starting 7 of 11 games he played hauling in 37 passes for 359 yards and 1 td. He is now just 26 years old and tried his best to earn a name on the defensive side of the ball last season. He played in 13 games racking up 18 tackles, 28 punt returns for 296 yards and 1 td, 12 kick returns for 284 yards, 4 carries for 8 yards, and 4 receptions for 34 yards. Granted he is a prolific punt returner the rest of his stats are relatively pedestrian until you look at them as a whole. This guy managed to play on defense, special teams, and offense with a total of 48 touches for 622 yards and 1 td. At 26 years old I’m slightly confused why a team that is hurting at defensive back thanks to a slow development by younger members of the secondary. The Patriots had to move guys back and forth from corner back to play to free safety due to struggles at corner. Even relying on Edelman to fill a hole or two at corner. Patrick Chung is a mainstay at strong safety however the Patriots have tried to plug many players in next to him at free safety, again drafting a free safety in the 2nd round. I liked the selection allowing the guys who play corner to stay there while adding another body in the 7th round. However my one complaint is other than Kyle Arrington the Pats do not have another starting worthy cornerback at the moment. Devin McCourty struggled last season seeing time back at safety, and no other veterans on the roster could be pointed to as reliable in this aspect expect possibly Will Allen a guy who saw time as a starter with many teams before signing here. However I believe with the depth available to them at receiver I think it’s almost foolish to not allow a guy like Edelman who is versatile enough to play both ways, not to mention willing to play both ways, an oppurtunity to contribute in everyway possible. Especially considering the fact that is only 26 years old and still has years ahead of him to develop into the position, we’ve seen what he can do as a receiver and we realize this is a part of the reason why the Patriots approached free agency fast and furious at wide receiver. Signing 3 veterans at the position even resigning Mathew Slater, Wes Welker, and Deion Branch to a group that also includes Chad Ocho Cinco. Julian Edelman is likely an odd man out at receiver but his abilities as a punt returner means he still holds value with the team, and that is more reason to give him a fulltime shot in the secondary perhaps even at free safety.
On a related sidenote the Patriots also signed the last player to start on both sides of the ball in the NFL in Spencer Larson the FB/LB will replace FB Lousaka Polite who was released after he was signed. He will also play special teams and possibly knowing this team in a pinch he will play linebacker too.