by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
After years of producing very little in New England, Julian Edelman exploded in 2013 for 105 receptions, 1,056 yards and 6 TD. For those who want to quickly write off the performance, let’s take a quick look at what Wes Welker did during his time in New England:
That is the role that Edelman stepped into last season and proved that he could replicate. He was even better late in the season, being targeted at least 9 times in each of the team’s final eight games, including the playoffs, and 11+ in six of those.
Couple that with the remaining questions regarding the Patriots receiving corps as well as his shiny new contract and why should we expect any less production? Yes New England still has some breakout candidates, but there is no reason to think that Edelman won’t remain the go to receiver.
Just how many receivers actually register 100+ receptions, 1,000+ yards and 6+ TD each season? Over the past five years:
- 2009 – 5
- 2010 – 2
- 2011 – 2
- 2012 – 2
- 2013 – 3
There were others who were close. For instance, last season both Pierre Garçon and Andre Johnson met the first two criteria but managed to score just 5 TD. Even if you lower the TD threshold, you are looking at an elite group of options.
With the running game still a question mark, especially with LeGarrette Blount out of the mix, Edelman is going to continue to see ample targets. Given his relative floor, what exactly is there not to like?
In fact, would it surprise anyone if he ultimately pushed 10 TD? Tom Brady needs to throw the ball to someone and who knows if Rob Gronkowski and/or Danny Amendola can keep themselves on the field enough to see them. Yes, the younger receivers could emerge but there were other options when Welker was doing what he was doing.
As long as Edelman is healthy, his floor is way too high to ignore. He easily should be a Top 15 receiver in 2014 and is well worth targeting in the first four or five rounds.
Source – ESPN