BOSTON (CBS) — Julian Edelman became just the third player in Patriots history to record 100 receptions in a season after making four catches early in Sunday’s game against the Bills.
Edelman entered Sunday with 96 receptions for 991 yards on the season. He made consecutive catches 10 minutes into the game, then picked up seven yards on a wide receiver screen later in the drive. Early in the second quarter, he made a catch over the middle, his 100th of the season.
Edelman, 27, was a free agent after last season, and he explored his options before ultimately re-signing with the Patriots for one year and less than $1 million. He became just the third Patriots receiver to catch 100 passes in a season, joining Troy Brown and Wes Welker, who did it five times in his six seasons with New England.
Edelman is also the 10th Patriots player to record a 1,000-yard receiving season.
He was originally drafted by the Patriots in 2009 as a receiver after he played quarterback at Kent State for three seasons. As a QB, Edelman threw for 30 touchdowns and 31 interceptions, but he was dangerous with the ball in his hands, as evidenced by his 2,483 rushing yards and 22 rushing TDs. Though he made just one reception in college, Bill Belichick liked what he saw out of Edelman when carrying the ball, so he drafted him in the seventh round, 232nd overall.
In that same 2009 draft, six receivers were drafted in the first round. Of those six receivers, zero have made 100 receptions in a single season, and only two have recorded 1,000 receiving yards in a season (Michael Crabtree, Hakeem Nicks).
Edelman’s previous career highs in receptions came in his rookie season in 2009 with 37 catches for 359 yards.
Edelman also ranks in the top five in the NFL in total punt return yards, averaging 11.1 yards per return this season.