Is that too grand of a statement?
The Patriots former 7th round pick and quarterback convert out of Kent State in the best of all time. Or maybe Minitron is the most consistent. Or perhaps the slot receiver is continuously overlooked despite his nightmarish ability to tilt the field.
Out of punt returners with 70+ returns (a measly 10 returns per year over seven seasons), Julian Edelman ranks above the rest.
Above Devin Hester. Above Dante Hall. Above Ted Ginn. Above them all.
Edelman is average 12.58 yards per punt return in his career. He's had 125 of them. He's the best the league has seen.
Of course, there is respect due to those who came before Edelman; before the AFL was even a football league.
George McAfee, former 2nd overall pick by the Bears, ranks first all time with a 12.78 yard average on 112 returns. He played from 1940 to 1950. He's in the Hall of Fame.
Six-time All Pro Jack Christiansen of the Lions ranks second with a 12.75 yard average on 85 returns. He played from 1951 to 1958. He's in the Hall of Fame.
Then there's Edelman. He may not have Hester's flash, or Ginn's pedigree, but Edelman stands above them all. He's the best this NFL has ever seen.