The New England Patriots got Jace Billingsley in their practice squad, and the receiver already has a lot in common with his new fanbase. Billingsley spent a lot of time watching the game of Wes Welker and Julian Edelman.
The 25-year-old receiver said that Welker is his favorite pro athlete, and that stands written in his college bio at Eastern Oregon. Billingsley spent his offseason watching the film of Julian Edelman at the behest of Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia.
“I think one thing that I’ve learned from him is that he always is just playing hard and he’s doing things a little unorthodox, but it’s his way and it works for him and he’s gotten good at it. And he just kind of trusts his process and that’s one thing I’ve learned is just finding what you’re good at and building on that rather than trying to always be like someone else, ’cause you’re not them. So you have to be yourself and you have to do what you do good,” Billingsley said.
He will get the chance to work with Julian Edelman within a month. Edelman will sit out the first four games of the regular season.
Billingsley may be considered a put return option for the Patriots, depending on his game in practice. The receiver fielded 18 punts in three preseasons with the Lions, returning 13 for 92 yards. New England needs a punt returner while Julian Edelman is out. Who will take this role at the beginning of the season? Running back Rex Burkhead, wide receivers Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson and safety Patrick Chung.
Billingsley used to return punts in high school, but didn’t handle these duties in college. He didn’t catch any passes in two games throughout the two seasons with the Lions. Billingsley was productive in the preseason.