15 most important Patriots for 2019: No. 2, Julian Edelman

With the Patriots off until training camp, we’re having a series featuring the 15 most important Patriots players for the upcoming season. The countdown will continue for the next several weeks.

No. 2: Julian Edelman

Position: Wide receiver

2018 stats: 35 receptions, 400 yards, 2 touchdowns in 12 games

Why he’s No. 2: Edelman was outstanding last year coming off a torn ACL suffered in 2017. Following his four-game suspension, he finished with 74 receptions for 850 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games, but he saved his best for the playoffs when in the three games he totaled 26 catches for 388 yards. It was capped off by winning MVP in the Super Bowl win over the Rams. Many didn't expect him to have the same production following the injury, but he proved a lot of people wrong.

The veteran wide receiver is emerging as not only one of the best in Patriots history, but also up there in NFL history. There's no one wide out that Tom Brady trusts more than Edelman and it's on display each and every game when Brady goes to him in the biggest of situations and he delivers time and time again. While the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl the year Edelman was out with the torn ACL, the offense wasn't the same and fortunately Rob Gronkowski stayed healthy that entire season. Now, with Gronkowski out of the picture, Edelman becomes that much more important. If he were to go down and miss extensive time, it's hard to picture what the offense would look like considering the current depth at receiver. This is why Edelman is the second-most important player on the Patriots.

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