In his Patriots career, Julian Edelman has been a return specialist and a wide receiver, has lined up in the backfield, has filled in at defensive back and has served an emergency quarterback.
Thursday night, the Patriots are one snap from dealing with an emergency. With Tom Brady suspended and Jimmy Garoppolo injured, the Patriots are starting rookie Jacoby Brissett at quarterback and didn’t add another quarterback to their roster. That means Edelman, a quarterback at Kent State before the Patriots drafted him in the seventh round in 2009, is their No. 2 quarterback.
He was a 54.5 percent passer over three seasons at Kent State, where he excelled running the option and was more battering ram than pure quarterback. He finished his college career with 30 passing touchdowns and 31 interceptions, a ratio he offset by rushing for 22 touchdowns at a career average of 4.9 yards per rush, which is extra impressive considering yards lost on sacks count against a player’s rushing yards in college.
Edelman has a 51-yard touchdown pass in a playoff game on his diverse and impressive NFL resume, but at a listed height of 5-foot-10, he wasn’t going to be an NFL quarterback. He followed former Browns Pro Bowl return specialist Josh Cribbs at Kent State after Cribbs had set all sorts of records for combined rushing and passing yards at the college level, and it was clear that Edelman was going to have to find a new position if he wanted to follow Cribbs into the NFL.
In his senior season at Kent State, Edelman punted four times and returned six punts in addition to playing quarterback and rushing 215 times. Seven years later it’s clear that he was made to be a Patriot, and we’ll soon find out if he adds “quarterback” to the list of ways he’s helped the Patriots.
Earlier this week, Brady said during his weekly radio appearance that Edelman “still talks about” the touchdown he threw on a double pass in the playoffs against the Ravens two seasons ago.
Edelman is going to want the ball, and it seems likely the Patriots will at least line him up as a quarterback early in the game to make the Texans account for him. Both teams had to cram a week’s worth of preparation into a couple days, and the Patriots have shown they aren’t afraid to try just about anything. The same goes for Edelman, and at least for one game he’s one snap away from having to play quarterback.