Going purely by the numbers, Julian Edelman had a fine season in 2019.
The veteran receiver set a career high in receiving yards (1,117) and also reeled in 100 catches for just the second time in his Patriots tenure. Edelman also led New England with six receiving touchdowns.
But Edelman didn’t exactly look like his usual self throughout the 2019 season. He recorded 10 drops and only averaged 3.3 yards after the catch, per Pro Football Focus. Nagging injuries surely played a part in these shortcomings, and it became tough for any Patriots pass-catcher to consistently produce as the offense gradually fell out of sync.
The Super Bowl LIII MVP appears to be healthy entering the 2020 campaign, however, which is why ESPN projects Edelman to put together a bounce-back season.
“It always starts with health, and Edelman underwent shoulder and knee surgeries after the 2019 season,” Mike Reiss wrote for ESPN.com. “So the 34-year-old go-to target is healthy again, albeit with plenty of miles on his football odometer. Something else that potentially might help Edelman: The offense might rely less on him because of a wider diversity of targets, which could direct the considerable attention opposing defenses often paid to him elsewhere.”
Staying healthy only will be a part of the battle for Edelman in the upcoming campaign, however. The 12th-year pro will be challenged to build a rapport with a new starting quarterback for the first time in his career.