- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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Versatility is nearly synonymous with Bill Belichick and the Patriots, as the coach has long-leaned on players who can perform a number of tasks on the football field.
It should come as little surprise then that three Patriots cracked the list of Gary Horton’s (a former NFL Scout and current contributor to ESPN’s Scouts, Inc.) ten most versatile players (NOTE: Insider content) in the AFC.
Checking in at No. 3 is TE Aaron Hernandez, who was used in a number of ways last season, including from the Patriots’ backfield. The third-year tight end finished with 79 catches and 910 yards receiving.
Just behind Hernandez is presumptive starting left tackle Nate Solder, who was formerly a college tight end and played all over the line in 2011. Solder filled in a right tackle, left tackle and as an extra lineman in a tight end alignment, and Horton believes he is the “perfect” fit as a goal-line/red zone package tight end, similar to how Mike Vrabel was used during his time in New England.
Finally, Julian Edelman, who Horton pegs as the “ultimate ‘jack-of-all-trades’ player,” rounds out the list at No. 10. Edelman’s become somewhat of a football chameleon, having evolved from a college quarterback into an NFL receiver, returner, and recently a defensive back as well.
Notably, a pair of players from the AFC East, quarterback Tim Tebow of the Jets and running back Reggie Bush of the Dolphins, topped the list.