Wide receiver Julian Edelman has retired and has no plans to resurface with another team like Tampa Bay. But after 11 seasons with the Patriots, he knows that team as well as anybody.
Edelman won’t be playing with quarterback Mac Jones, the Patriots’ first-round pick this year. But Edelman has a good idea of what the young quarterback is facing whenever Jones gets his opportunity to take over as QB1.
“He needs to have that eye,” Edelman said on Michael Irvin’s podcast, via NESN. “He needs to have that confidence. … What are you going to do? This kid, it’s not easy playing in New England, especially after Tom Brady, if he gets the opportunity and beats out the other guy. This ain’t going to be easy. This town is tough. This town is mean. This town is blue-collar. Boston people, the New England people, they want winning. They’re used to that in all sports. The kid’s going to have a lot of pressure.”
Jones is the first quarterback Bill Belichick has ever drafted in the first round — including his five-year stint as Browns head coach in the 90s. According to Edelman, that comes with additional pressure.
“When you play on Bill teams, [first-round picks] are usually defensive ends,” Edelman said. “Those are usually corners. We usually have the 28th pick or something — we’re getting a defensive player. That’s how Bill builds a team. But if you come in and you’re a quarterback drafted by Bill Belichick, I mean, let’s go, buddy.”
Jones will have to beat out Cam Newton to become the starter in 2021. That could be sooner or later, but whenever he does, he’ll be expected to perform at a high level.