As part of his "Making the Leap" series, Gregg Rosenthal, who oversees NFL.com's Around the League blog, highlights a possible breakthrough for Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, who's entering his fifth season with the team in 2013.
As noted by Rosenthal, health is essential to Edelman's potential ascent, as an inability to consistently stay on the field has hampered his production and slowed him this offseason. He was unable to partake in OTAs while dealing with a foot issue.
But if Edelman can stay on the field, Rosenthal projects him to compete for the team's No. 2 receiver job behind Danny Amendola:
"There's no reason why Edelman shouldn't be the Patriots' No. 2 receiver behind Danny Amendola, other than health. Edelman is the only wideout on the roster to have caught a pass from Tom Brady. Rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce are mysteries, but didn't necessarily look ready in organized team activities. Michael Jenkins and Donald Jones are veterans trying to keep their careers afloat. And there isn't a tight end on the roster ready to catch a lot of passes consistently until Rob Gronkowski gets healthy.
The Patriots haven't needed Edelman before. They need him now, and he's shown the ability in his career to be a difference-maker. A sneaky season of more than 800 receiving yards could follow for Edelman."
Edelman is the only Patriots receiver on the current roster who caught a pass with the team during the 2012 season, as he finished with 21 before landing on injured reserve following a December foot injury. He was playing arguably the best football of his career at that time, and the Patriots are hopeful he can return to that form when healthy in 2013.
To read Rosenthal's insightful write-up in its entirety, click HERE.