Extension’s Eleven

It’s something about the New England Patriots and picking these players that turn into absolute gems for their franchise. Look at when they drafted a player by the name of Tom Brady in 2000. He was selected with the 199th overall pick in the sixth round. It’s safe to say things have panned out well. 19 seasons, 13 AFC Championship game appearances, nine AFC titles and six Super Bowls. Another guy they selected in the later rounds of the NFL Draft in 2009 is Julian Edelman. He’s become quite the player for the Patriots. Today, he was extended by the team to a two-year deal.

Every team in sports has that one guy who’s the heart and soul of their franchise. Julian by far holds that title for the New England Patriots. He’s a lot craftier than people give him credit for. He’s such a tough cover in the middle of the field when he’s running out the slot because you never know where he’s going to go. One thing he’s excellent at is sitting comfortably in the zone. He can run those quick routes, then can turn up the field and make defenders miss. He isn’t like other small wide receivers. He plays the position with the mentality of a running back because he doesn’t shy away from the contact whereas most small receivers catch the ball and hit the ground right away. He took over the Wes Welker role for New England. He’s the guy inside that runs those seam routes where they run it right at you and wherever your leverage is as a defender, they’re going the opposite way of that. This is exactly what he loves to do. He runs at you physically and if you sit back too far or outside, he’s cutting inside, and the ball will be in his hands soon enough. If you sit inside on him in coverage, he’s bursting outside. You look at the stats, Jules may have seven or eight catches and all over them will be in that five to ten-yard range. Here’s the crazy thing though: You know he’s coming and how the Patriots get him the ball, but you can’t stop it! He’s been so good because he does those small things consistently all the time. He’ll always have that reputation for going underneath, but he can run that wheel route down the field for that big gain. He makes those tough catches over the middle along with taking that hit that comes with running in the center through traffic and gets right back up. He isn’t afraid to take a hit which shows his mental toughness. Although he takes a ton of hits, he catches everything in his vicinity. Whenever Tom needs to convert that third down, number 11 is usually targeted. Even if it’s second and 20, they need to get yards, it’s in his hands even if they don’t get the first down, he can get them close to it.

I’ve always enjoyed watching guys like him play. They maybe the smaller players, but the heart they play with is bigger than anyone on the field. He’s been a big part of the Patriots continued run of success. The Patriots have played in four of the last five Super Bowls, he’s come away with three Super Bowl rings. He’s one of the most productive receivers in postseason history. He’s ranked second in postseason receiving yards and receptions. In Super Bowl LIII, he was the best player on the field for New England. He caught ten passes for 141 yards and was named Super Bowl MVP.