Is the Patriots' Julian Edelman the Next Wes Welker?

Ryan PickardCorrespondent INovember 22, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 15:  Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots celebrates his touchdown in the second quarter of the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 15, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Julian Edelman is quickly becoming one of Tom Brady's go-to guys.

Watching Edelman reminds me a lot of Wes Welker. They are both smaller than the average NFL player but make up for it with their quickness and ability to cut back quickly.

When the Pats traded for Welker back in 2007, not many thought much of it, since Welker had only had one really good year for the Dolphins in 2006.

As soon as Welker stepped onto the field for the Pats, though, he had an immediate impact, finishing tied for the most receptions in 2007.

The very next year even with a quarterback who hadn't played since high school Welker again was right up at the league lead for receptions with 111.

Now the Patriots have their next Wes Welker. Edelman was another player who wasn't thought much of. The Patriots drafted him in the seventh round of this year's draft.

Originally, Edelman was a quarterback for Kent State and had never played wide receiver. He didn't even attend the NFL Combine, but the Patriots gave him a private workout and were impressed enough to draft him.

Edleman started his first game in Week 2 against the Jets as Wes Welker sat out with an injury. He led the team with eight receptions for 98 yards and finished with 138 all-purpose yards.

He hasn't had a real breakout game since Week 2 but has made some very timely catches, including tonight's game where he made a key third-down catch.

He picked up enough yards for the first down, helping the Patriots to a victory over the Jets.

Edelman's ability to make the catch and then pick up yards after the catch is his best asset. Just like Welker, he is able to gain a good amount of yards after the catch by dodging linebackers who can't keep up with his quick feet.

He can even play quarterback when called upon as in tonight's game when the Pats tried a trick play by sending Edelman in motion and taking the snap, although this play didn't result in a first down.

Edelman's dual threat ability will be a big part of the Patriots offense for years to come and keep defensive backs on their heels trying to keep up with him.

I'm sure all Patriots fans will enjoy hearing the saying "Brady to Edelman for the touchdown" for a long time.