The NFL’s best slot receivers, No. 5: Julian Edelman, Patriots
Over the last few years, Edelman has replaced Wes Welker as the best option route runner in the NFL, making him a perfect fit on the Patriots, who have more option routes in their playbook than any other team. No receiver is better at reading coverages and adjusting his routes based on opponent tendencies, a mandatory skill for earning trust with Tom Brady in the New England offense. Edelman is tough, he’s quick and he understands how to sneak in and out of various coverage concepts. Perhaps it’s his appearance, but people tend to think of Edelman as more of a slot receiver than he really is: He ran just 51.2% of his routes in the slot last season, catching 32 passes on 42 targets for 362 yards and five touchdowns. At this point, he’s a true multi-position receiver who can get things done from anywhere on the field within the Patriots’ unique offense.