Now that the Green Bay Packers have discarded Jared Abbrederis, a whole state of well-wishers must be hoping that some other NFL team will pick him up. Abbrederis has been a loyal and inspiring player for the Packers. Too bad loyalty is a one-way street at 1265 Lombardi Avenue.
My wish is for the New England Patriots to sign Abbrederis.
Coach Bill Belichick knows how to make great use out of small, pesky, Caucasian possession receivers.
Wes Welker, at 5’9” and 185 pounds, went undrafted in 2004, and then spent three forgettable years with the Charges and Dolphins. In 2007, he signed with Belichick and the Patriots. In the next six years, Welker recorded five 1,000-yard seasons, topping out in 2011 with 1,569 yards. From 2007 through 2012, Welker (with a little help from Tom Brady) proved to be the game’s best possession receiver, with the following number of receptions: 112, 111, 123, 86, 122, and 118. He holds six NFL records based on this production. In all, he holds or shares 15 NFL receiving records. Welker did all this despite a 4.65 second 40-yard dash time. Abby’s dash time is 4.50. New England acquired him when he was 25 years old – Abby is also 25.
Danny Amendola, after going undrafted in 2008, spent four so-so years with the Rams from 2009 through 2012. Then, within hours of Welker signing with Denver, New England acquired him as Welker’s replacement. Amendola, at 5’10” and 185 pounds, had a 40-yard dash time of 4.52. Despite injuries in two of his three full seasons with the Patriots, he has two years with over 600 yards receiving, and has caught 54 and 65 throws in two of those years. While with the Patriots, Amendola has always been overshadowed by our next guy on the list.
Julian Edelman was picked in the seventh round by the Patriots in 2009. He had been a quarterback for Kent State and the College of San Mateo. He came out of college at 5’10” and 195 pounds, and with a 40-yard dash time of 4.52 at the Kent State pro day. Similar to Abby, he saw only spot action – though a lot more than Mike McCarthy gave to Abbrederis – for his first four years. Then in his fifth year he busted out with 105 receptions for 1,056 yards. The following year was nearly as good (92 for 972 yards). He was limited by injuries in 2015, but in 2016 he’s back with 37 catches to date, tied for 15th best in the league. He’s also a dangerous punt returner, having 149 returns for 1,780 yards, an average of 11.9 yards – and four returns for touchdown. Abbrederis is also a fine punt returner.
Abbrederis is as big, and, at 6’1”, three or more inches taller than the above three receivers. He’s also the fastest of the bunch. His route-running, his most acclaimed talent, must certainly be comparable to the other three. Abbrederis is 25, while Welker is a 35-year-old free agent, and Amendola and Edelman are each 30.
These examples dramatically illustrate what a difference a coach can make in a player’s career and success.
Belichick and Abbrederis could be a match made in heaven. If McCarthy and Abbrederis were a marriage, it would need to be annulled.