New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman hasn’t been spoken about much lately, and that’s mostly due to the focus on the rookie receivers. We pretty much know what Edelman brings to the table, as he can be a reliable slot receiver when healthy and definitely has Tom Brady‘s trust. Edelman isn’t durable enough, though, to play the slot consistently, and it’s better for the Patriots to use him downfield more often to take advantage of the improved long speed and playmaking ability he showed last season. Although he isn’t exactly flying under the radar, I wonder if we should focus on Edelman more often. He quietly caught all four balls thrown at him last season, and he still remains a potential breakout candidate (largely dependent on health and somewhat on frequency and manner of usage).
ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss had an excellent piece on Julian Edelman yesterday, and he wrote that Edelman will be Danny Amendola‘s backup in the slot. That makes sense given Edelman’s experience, but I wonder how often we see Josh Boyce lined up in the slot. If Amendola misses tomorrow’s game against the Detroit Lions, then I think we might learn more about that answer. However, I’m sure Boyce will get more reps as a rookie who seems to be falling behind Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins. However, Reiss also writes that Edelman is projected as the No. 4 or 5 receiver, and that to me seems low for a guy with his ability and experience in the offense.
Zach Sudfeld is gaining plenty of buzz after his huge performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he is showing no indication of the hype being undeserved. Sudfeld is a terrific talent and proof that sometimes the draft process just doesn’t do justice. He lined up in the slot a lot of times at Nevada (most of the time, in fact), and I think he will be the Patriots “move” tight end once Rob Gronkowski comes back from his injury.
Gronkowski will almost certainly be out until Week 3, and Zach Sudfeld has to be the Patriots starter at TE until then. I completely agree with the Boston Globe’s Erik Frenz when he states that Sudfeld is pretty much a lock to start for the Patriots in Week 1 with Gronk out. Sudfeld is clearly the best pass-catcher of the group, he’s a better run blocker than given credit for (he received high marks for that at Nevada), and he has the right amount of speed and ball skills to be a huge part of the offense. All aboard the Sudfeld train before it leaves the station.