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 presence and production of Wes Welker during the times Welker sat out with injuries in 2009 and 2010. Julian Edelman has become the final piece of a puzzle that the Patriots has been developing since the team decided to walk out of the tunnel of Superbowl 36 as a team.
Wes Welker's job initially was to fill the void and replace the lost production of the previous departed Deion Branch, a role filled to perfection. 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. Julian Edelman's purpose was to replace Welker from the day he was drafted during the seventh round of the 2009 NFL draft. Over the last 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 only increased with his overall dedication and skill.
Given his toughness and skillset, Edelman was selected by New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to develop his skills and become an asset to the team. His standout skills from his first few years were his versatility, playing kick returner/punt returner on special teams, receiver on offense and sometimes played cornerback during the 2011 season.
Most fans were so spoiled in 2010-2012 with the Welker-Branch tandem and the Gronkowski-Hernandez tandem, that Edelman became a forgotten man in a stellar offense except for returning punts every so often; Once Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Hernandez left the team in 2013, Edelman earned one-year deal with included incentives with his production and he became the only bright spot in an offense with injury prone, inexperienced receivers. There were many occasions during the 2013 season in which Brady would favorite Edelman as he did Welker because he was the most experienced, trusted receiver on the team.
After a week of NFL free agency passed in March 2014, Julian Edelman earned a four year contract extension with the New England Patriots, worth 17 million dollars. 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. "New England is home. Glad to be back," tweeted Julian Edelman after the contract extension was completed.
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.