New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is a very good wide receiver. However, is he the best slot wide receiver in the NFL?
Starting in 2013, Edelman began to emerge as a star for New England. That season, he totaled 105 receptions, 1,056 receiving yards, and six receiving touchdowns. Following the breakout season in 2013, Edelman followed it up with another great 2014 season.
Unfortunately, injuries affected Edelman in 2015, as he was only able to play in nine games. Despite this, he still totaled 692 receiving yards, as he was on pace for another strong season. For the Super Bowl Champions last season, Edelman totaled a career-high with 1,106 receiving yards.
Recently, Bryson Vesnaver of Pro Football Focus listed the Top 5 slot wide receivers in the NFL. Edelman came in behind Jarvis Landry of the Miami Dolphins on the list. Here’s what Vesnaver had to say about Edelman.
"Here’s the name many fans associate with slot receivers in the NFL. People may be surprised, however, to learn that Edelman only spent 53.5 percent of his snaps last year in the slot (the cut-off for this list is 50 percent). What’s more, that was the highest percentage of snaps Edelman played in the slot since he became a full-time starter.But despite playing far less of a slot role than the other receivers on this list, his success there cannot be denied. Edelman’s 63 slot receptions last season ranked second in the NFL, while his 724 yards ranked third. He averaged 2.42 yards per route run out of the slot, the highest mark in the league. No slot receiver was more likely to be thrown to when lined up there than Edelman, who was targeted 29.1 percent of the time he lined up in the slot."
Seeing that Edelman set a career-high lining up in the slot last season is truly surprisingly. Most NFL fans associate Edelman as primarily a slot receiver. While he does do most of his damage there, he is more than just a slot receiver.
Having Edelman behind Landry as the second-best slot wide receiver is certainly the right call. Landry operated from the slot position nearly 75% of the time last season and totaled 856 receiving yards from the slot. Even though he just qualified for Pro Football Focus, Edelman is without a doubt one of the best slot wide receivers in the NFL.