Julian Edelman, a former 7th round draft choice of the New England Patriots, originally came into the NFL as a college quarterback. Julian Edelman did a great job replacing the absence and production of Wes Welker during his breakout season of 2013. Julian Edelman is the only veteran receiver on the Patriots' roster with five years of experience with Tom Brady and could potentially become Tom Bradys' go-to-receiver again in 2014.
Edelman also known as "Jules" has picked up the slack lost by the departure of Wes Welker and is likely to become a frequent member of the 100 catch club as long as he stays healthy and on Tom Brady's good side. Edelman has taken so much criticism for lack of consistency over the years but given his experience and breakout season of 2013, he is likely to become one of the top slot receivers on a yearly basis. He will indeed fill Wes Welker's shoes in the future.
If Julian Edelman remains healthy, he will likely become the #1 receiver on the depth chart beating out injury prone Danny Amendola who came off a disappointing season and new comer, Brandon Lafell who is a former Carolina Panthers slot receiver. Edelman is essentially the go-to-receiver that Wes Welker was, only he is more humble, younger, quicker, and has the potential to be better than his predecessor.
When Julian Edelman was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2009, his job was to learn and develop under the direct tutelage and guidance of Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Over the past five years, Edelman developed his skills with an increasing appetite for success, an extremely focused work ethic, and a deep passion to learn the wide receiver position. Julian Edelman's role has increased with dedication, football smarts, and experience. Edelman was a versatile player that coach Belichick fell in love with because of his ability to play kick returner, special teams ace, corner back (2011) and be used as backup quarterback for scout team in practice.
Julian Edelman became a forgotten man due to the success of Randy Moss-Wes Welker combo in 2009-10, and the Gronkowski-Hernandez combo in 2010-2012. Wes Welker was the #1 receiver on the depth chart for the last three years of his Patriots tenure (2010-12), and with Deion Branch brought back to replace Randy Moss, never got his chance to become a consistent starter. During the 2012 season however, Edelman shined in the absence of Wes Welker and during the second half of the season, working his way up to third on the depth chart behind Brandon Lloyd. If not for a few freakish injuries that ended his 2012 season on injured reserve, nobody knows how productive and impactful Julian Edelman could have been.
Julian Edelman earned a four year contract extension with the New England Patriots, worth 17 million dollars during the NFL free agency period of 2014. It is clear that the last piece to the puzzle has been established and the original back-up plan for Wes Welker, is now signed to a four-year deal to stay in New England. "Foxboro is home. Glad to be back, #Grind" tweeted Julian Edelman after the contract extension was completed. However, Danny Amendola essentially received the contract that Wes Welker desired from the Pats and Welker went to Denver as a result. Wes Welker should have gotten a 5 yr/$35 million dollar deal and Amendola should have received a 2 yr/$12 million dollar deal.
Julian Edelman has the potential to be the longest tenured New England Patriots receiver of the Tom Brady era. By the conclusion of Julian Edelman's contract, he can potentially be with the team for nine consecutive seasons and nine total seasons, topping Wes Welker (2007-2012), who was with the team for six seasons with Tom Brady and Superbowl MVP, Deion Branch (2002-2005, 2010-2012), who had two stints with the team for seven total seasons. Edelman has taken some big hits, criticism, and has been patiently waiting his chance to become a top receiver. Only time will tell if he is ready to lead the NFL in receptions or make the clutch third down catches to win games like Welker did during his tenure (2007-2012), but Edelman is something truly special to the Patriots, especially to Tom Brady. Rob Gronkowski has been a favorite target of Tom Brady's (2010-2013) and a half seasons, and Edelman was the favorite during last season, and the two favorites are the only veterans with over four years of experience in the offense. Edelman-Gronkowski combination, if they both stay healthy and consistent, could be a huge connection in 2014.