Julian Edelman Reveals What Bill Belichick Said When He Drafted Him

Julian Edelman was great in football, but nobody could really tell more about his future role in the league. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick could not say a word either.

The receiver talked to Peter King, and revealed some of the details about his draft. Julian Edelman was a former Kent State quarterback who was trying to get a nice spot in the NFL. He received a call from a 508 area code during the NFL draft, and it was Belichick’s aide who later handed the phone to the head coach.

“Hey well, uh, you’re a hell of a football player,” Belichick told him. “We don’t know what you’re gonna play but we’ll see you at rookie camp.”

Jules entered the league and became one of the greatest pass catchers in entire history. This year he received MVP honors after the brilliant performance at the Super Bowl. The receiver talked about the way New England creates opportunities for hardworking players.

“I think they [the Patriots] grade people differently, honestly,” Edelman said. “They don’t want distractions. They want guys that are versatile. They want mentally tough football players. That’s what I’ve seen through my career being there. They want a smart, physical, tough football player. If you don’t have that, you’re probably not gonna be there. So I’ve been fortunate to have a bunch of teammates—pretty much all the teammates I’ve had have been pretty good guys. You’ve got these young kids out here that have to learn, but you learn from the guys above you. I learned from the Kevin Faulks. I learned from the Toms, the Wes Welkers, the guys that worked hard that were there that were playing at a high level consistently. If you don’t, they usually get rid of you.”

Belichick credits another person for picking Edelman.

“It’s kind of interesting,” Belichick said of Edelman’s arrival to the Patriots, via WEEI.com. “I’ve got to give [sportswriter] Rick Gosselin credit on that one for getting us started. I talked to Rick — as you know, Rick followed the draft very closely — and at one point, he said to me, ‘A kid you might want to take a look at is this quarterback out of Kent State. I don’t think he can play quarterback, but I’ve heard he’s a pretty good player.’

“So we kind of got going on him a little bit, and we were like, OK, what would we do with Julian? Is he a receiver? Is he a punt returner? Is he a defensive back? Is he maybe a guy that just can play multiple positions in the kicking game? So we went out and worked him out — how many times did we work you out? Two? So we sent one coach up there. And then we were like, well alright, let’s send someone else up there, because we weren’t really sure what to do with him. So, as it turned out, he came to the Patriots [as a seventh-round draft pick in 2009] and caught passes, which he hadn’t done before; returned kicks, which he hadn’t done before; and played defense, which he hadn’t done before; in addition to cover kicks and all the other things in special teams.

Belichick praises Julian Edelman

“Nobody has worked harder in my career than Julian to develop his skills and his craft in a position — other than, I’d say, Steve Neal — other than Julian, because he really didn’t have any background in it. We put him on defense and put him against good players in the slot, and obviously, he’s excelled as a receiver for a player that had no real college background doing that.

“I’d say the game — and we’ve talked about this — the game that really impressed me the most in watching Julian was the Ohio State game. He didn’t have a lot of blocking, and they were getting killed by Ohio State, but what you saw in that game was how competitive he was, how hard he was to tackle and how tough he was. Even though it was three, four touchdowns, whatever it was they were behind by, he played the game with an intensity honestly was hard for them to handle. They had a difficult time with him. So you could see the competitiveness on film and in the workouts.”

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