Yes, the New England Patriots are World Champions again and yes, Julian Edelman was named MVP and had a major impact on the team’s success. However, let’s get one thing straight, he is not a Hall of Famer. To be quite honest, I do not think he cares though either, and for that I tip my cap to him. Drafted in the 7th round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Edelman has carved out an above average NFL Career, albeit, catching passes from the greatest quarterback to ever live and playing for a franchise that has had unparalleled success over the last 20 years. The 32 year old now has three Super Bowl rings, a Super Bowl MVP and a lifetime legacy of being a part of the greatest dynasty in NFL history. The last thing Edelman probably cares about is making it to Canton some day and quite frankly, he should not be in consideration anyway. The former college quarterback himself has molded himself into the perfect weapon for New England over the last ten years, following in the footsteps of the real slot maven, Wes Welker. I would never want to make a claim without the empirical evidence to back it up, so let’s dig into the career statistics of Edelman and see how they rank amongst other wide receivers in NFL history.
Let me first state, that obviously Edelman still has plenty of years left in the tank and who knows how long he will be catching passes from Tom Brady, but all we can go off right now is the current statistics as they are presented to us. Edelman has recorded 499 regular season receptions according to ProFootballReference.com, which would equate to about 55 receptions per season over his 9 year career so far. If we look at the 2018 NFL statistics, the players that recorded around 55 receptions in 2018 are names like, Zay Jones, T.J. Yeldon, D.J. Moore and Allen Robinson. Call me crazy, but I do not think any of those players are destined for Canton, Ohio, at least at this present moment. Edelman’s 499 career receptions are less than T.Y. Hilton (who has played 3 less seasons), DeAndre Hopkins (who has played 4 less seasons) and a staggering over 100 catches less than tight end Jimmy Graham and Golden Tate, who have both played one less season than Edelman. Only time will tell where these players may end up, Hopkins seems like he is on a trajectory for a Hall of Fame career, but that needs to be the standard, not a middling 55 receptions per season. Wes Welker, who’s entire career spanned 11 years, has over 400 more career receptions than Julian Edelman, so needless to say, unless Edelman averages 200 catches a year over the next two seasons, he will not be coming even close to matching the prolific production of Welker.
Next, let’s delve into career receiving yards, to see exactly where Edelman resides amongst the games best. Over the course of his 9 year career, Edelman has compiled 5,390 career yards, which equates too, after completing the simple math, about 600 yards per season. Again if we look at the 2018 NFL season, players that had in or around 600 yards receiving were names like, Vance McDonald, Jalen Richard, Michael Crabtree and Christian Kirk. This is not to say that Edelman is not more valuable than these players or has not made more big plays in larger moments, but simply from a statistical viewpoint, his numbers are nothing more than average. In his 9 year career, he has two 1,000 yard seasons and only season with more than 100 catches. His career yardage totals are less than players like, Brandon LaFell, Jared Cook and Odell Beckham Jr. Odell Beckham Jr. has more receiving yards than Julian Edelman in HALF the number of games played, not to mention with Eli Manning throwing him the football. Bostonians will be quick to point at and say “but look at his postseason stats” and I, to some extent, would agree with them, his numbers in the playoffs have been excellent. However, how much of that is to be attributed to the fact that seemingly every season played, Edelman gets at least an additional two postseason games guaranteed because of New England’s postseason success. No one in their right mind believes that the reason the Patriots are virtually a shoe-in for the Super Bowl every February is because of Julian Edelman, it’s because of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Brady has given stardom and a lifeline to a multitude of players who without his greatness probably would not have had long and illustrious careers. So yes, Edelman is a really good player and a key cog in New England’s success, but no he is not a Hall of Famer and I’m sure he will be just fine with his three Super Bowl rings and probably a few more yet to come.
That’s enough football talk for now.
Until next time,