It's not fair to compare Julian Edelman to Wes Welker anymore. While the former short, shifty, slot receiver replaced the latter, Edelman's function is different.
Historically, Welker would spend 70-80% of his time in the slot. Due to Edelman's size, the former college quarterback spends over half of his time lined up outside. As Bill Belichick has noted, Edelman doesn't play like Welker; he's more of a Troy Brown type.
Still, it's inevitable that the comparisons will be made and I was just thinking to myself the following question:
Question: do you think Edelman will ever reproduce Welker's statistical output, or did Wes benefit from seasons with fewer producers on O?— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) June 9, 2015
I left this open-ended. Do you think Edelman can ever match Welker's single season output? Or his six-season stretch in New England? Do you think Welker benefit from having Randy Moss, while Edelman's had to fight for targets?
Edelman has become a New England folk hero, but it's impressive to note that five out of Welker's six seasons all out-produced the best Edelman year, in both yards and receptions. Do you think Edelman will ever be able to notch a 110 reception, 1,200 yard season that Welker produced like clock work?
Give your thoughts in the comments. I'll leave mine. Here are the responses I received on Twitter.
The "No, Edelman won't match Welker because Wes had a favorable situation" Group
@PP_Rich_Hill nah — at this point, he’s probably too old to ever reach that level of numbers for the # of years Welker did.— Conrad O'Connell (@conradoconnell) June 9, 2015
@PP_Rich_Hill I hope the team doesn't have to rely on Edelman as much as they had to with Welker.— Michael McDermott (@michaelmcd8393) June 9, 2015
@PP_Rich_Hill Edelman has succeeded due to volume. Won't reproduce Welkers numbers though. Not enough time.— RI Patriot (@RIPatriot) June 9, 2015
@PP_Rich_Hill I think there were times when Lloyd/Branch (2nd half of 2011) would get shut down and Welker was relied on more.— Daniel (@DPG_93) June 9, 2015
@PP_Rich_Hill hmmm I think the latter, for some reason I believe Edelman is the better athlete— King Iorek Byrnison! (@Diilated) June 9, 2015
@PP_Rich_Hill The latter, by a wide margin. No offense to Wes' ability to catch but the volume was due to lack of support— Kevin Macdonald (@kjpmacdonald) June 9, 2015
@PP_Rich_Hill the latter.— Tim Shea (@TheTimShea) June 9, 2015
The "To be fair, the situations weren't too different" Group
@PP_Rich_Hill welker did play with moss and then when moss was gone gronk/hernandez was there— LBJ 2-1 In Finals (@Brady12ToMoss81) June 9, 2015
@PP_Rich_Hill Welker played with Moss and Edleman sort of had Gronk. Its pretty equal to me— Billy (@Billy_CLNSPats) June 9, 2015
The "I think Edelman can and will match Welker's output" Group