Julian Edelman
(Jim Davis/Boston Globe Staff)

Is Julian Edelman A Hall Of Famer? Yes, He Is.

The biggest news in the NFL today was the fact that long-time New England Patriot, Julian Edelman, was cut by the storied franchise. The Patriots released Edelman after he failed a physical, and Edelman subsequently announced his retirement. Whether you love or hate the Patriots, Julian Edelman was a huge part of why they’ve dominated the last decade in the NFL. Aside from winning three Super Bowls in his NFL career, Edelman exemplified everything about what it takes to be a Hall of Famer.

Since people will have plenty to say about my take on the whole Edelman, but just hear me out.

The easy argument would be to point to his three Super Bowl victories and four appearances. While is is a perfectly valid argument, I won’t go there. Let’s consider Edelman’s level of difficulty throughout his career. Yes, he had arguably the greatest quarterback of all time throwing to him in Tom Brady. But let’s consider how he got to be there.

Like Brady, Edelman was an extremely late pick in his draft. Julian was the 232 overall pick in round seven of the 2009 NFL draft…as a quarterback out of Kent State. Kent State. Julian Edelman could barely even get recruited out of high school, yet somehow through extreme hard work and perseverance he managed to get a shot at the College of San Mateo. From there, he got an offer from Kent State, and that was only because they desperately needed a quarterback.

An Unlikely Champion

Even when Edelman broke into the league, he had to fight for his spot on the team behind Hall of Famer Randy Moss and Wes Welker in his prime. Considering those two were already on the team, it’s amazing that Edelman even got a shot to catch a pass from Tom Brady. Any chance he got was a testament to the fact that he worked harder than anyone else. The Patriots receivers coach at the time, Chad O’Shea, knew Edelman had the work ethic from the beginning.

“My first impression when we got Julian is you knew he was going to be the hardest working guy out there. You could tell right away. He doesn’t take no for an answer when it comes to what he wants to achieve. Those attributes quickly jumped out to me, and I felt [they] were unique.”

Once Randy Moss and Wes Welker parted ways by 2012, it was Edelman’s time to shine. As a 5’10” slot receiver in the NFL, nobody could have seen the seventh round pick finishing his career the way he did. Not only did he amass 6,822 yards, 620 receptions, and 36 touchdowns in his 11-year career, he did it when nobody expected him to. Moreover, he performed when it mattered most.

As Tom Brady’s right-hand man, Edelman managed to put up 1,442 yards, 180 receptions, and five touchdowns in 19 playoff games. That’s insane. Edelman has come up in some of the most clutch situations, most notably his diving catch against Atlanta at Super Bowl 51 that sparked the 28-3 Patriots comeback win. It’s one thing for a player to have a long career in the NFL, but it’s another to be completely dependable in the most crucial times under an organization that puts immeasurable amounts of pressure on its players to win. What’s even crazier is that Edelman is only second to Jerry Rice in playoff receiving yards. Just to put that into perspective, Jerry Rice played for over 20 years and lined up out-wide as a 6’2″ 200-pound athlete. Julian Edelman is 5’10” and played in the slot, and took way more hits than Jerry Rice over the middle of the field.

Edelman capped off one of his best years in 2018 with a Super Bowl MVP award, which he undoubtedly deserved. I can’t think of any slot receivers that played with the same toughness, resilience, consistency, and fire as Julian Edelman. Just ask Tom Brady if he thinks Edelman is a Hall of Famer, I’m sure you won’t get a different answer.

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