New England Patriots: Julian Edelman a Pro Football Hall of Fame talent

New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman is a Hall of Fame talent.

With the departure of Tom Brady, Julian Edelman may be the only player left on the current New England Patriots roster who is Pro Football Hall of Fame worthy.

Edelman was a 7th round draft pick, number 232nd overall, in 2009 after playing quarterback at Kent State. Edelman has excelled in his 10-year career as both a receiver and a punt returner.

I have panned many of New England’s draft picks over the years, but this isn’t one of them. Edelman has excelled in his 10-year career as both a receiver and a punt returner. One of the best draft picks in the history of the National Football League.

Edelman is a lock for the Patriots Hall of Fame the first year after he is eligible unless guys named Tom Brady or Rob Gronkowski are eligible that year.

2020 is Edelman’s 11th season in New England. I for one am happy that he didn’t follow his friend and long-time Patriots teammates Brady and Gronkowski to Tampa Bay. Players of his ilk should play and finish their tremendous careers playing only for one team.

Edelman has averaged just under 60 catches per season in his 10-year career to-date. That average is really understated since he didn’t really break into the receiver role until really his 5th season in New England.

Prior to that, he was an exceptional punt returner. He was great, not just good. He continued that role even after breaking into the starting team as a receiver.

In his first six years in New England, while being the primary punt returner on the team, Edelman averaged 12.4 yards per punt return in the regular season.

His career average is not far behind at 11.2. He also averaged 11.2 yards per punt return in the playoffs. He also has scored 4 touchdowns as a receiver in the regular season.

Edelman occasionally returned punts in the past 4 seasons, and anytime he does he is a threat. He’s an electric punt returner, even now, but frankly, he is too valuable to be used in that role. An injury to your best wide receiver on a punt return is unacceptable.

Julian Edelman, Mr. Clutch for the New England Patriots

Edelman is getting better with age. In 2019, he had his best season in receiving yards with 1117 along with 100 catches. Part of that was possibly the lack of the receivers in whom Tom Brady had any confidence in whatsoever.

But when Brady threw to Edelman, Edelman caught the ball 65.4% of the time in 2019. His percentage catching the ball over his career is even better at 66.4%.

But perhaps Edelman’s best attribute for New England was his relationship with his quarterback and his ability to make big catches in big games. Edelman is indeed, Mr. Clutch for New England. He just makes the play you need when you need it most.

And to put an exclamation point on his Mr. Clutch moniker, he had a certain catch in the Super Bowl against Atlanta. He made the greatest catch in the greatest Super Bowl comeback game ever to help beat Atlanta.

Edelman’s catch in that game was the greatest catch I have ever seen anywhere, bar none. I think it’s the greatest catch in the history of the National Football League or maybe of any league.

So with all this (and there is more) in mind, it is clear to me that Edelman will be wearing the red New England Patriots Hall of Fame jacket. In addition, he should be donning the golden jacket of the NFL Hall of Fame, as well.

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I would vote for Julian Edelman for the Patriots Hall of Fame in a second. I don’t have a vote for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but if I did, he’d be a lock for my vote there as well. Edelman, the great punt returner and pass catcher from the New England Patriots deserves both.

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