Eras end and eras begin and with the New England Patriots signing a player with a familiar skill set, it could very well be leading to the start of a new generation at the slot receiver position.
Northwestern’s Austin Carr, who led the Big 10 College Conference with 90 receptions for 1247 receiving yards and 12 touchdown catches, went undrafted and was immediately snagged by the Patriots. Many analysts have stated that he was the best receiver in the Big 10 and going as far as saying he was one of if not the best slot receiver in the country.
At first glance, it’s easy to assume that this was just another move to add more camp bodies to the roster. This however is simply not the case.
The two slot receivers on the roster – Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola – have hit the ages of 30 and 31 respectively. But, looking at the amount of hits they have taken over the middle as well as the injuries they have suffered, it is becoming clearer that their days in the NFL are numbered.
Edelman was drafted by the Patriots in 2009 and fans immediately saw similarities to Tom Brady’s favorite target at the time, Wes Welker. Season by season, it almost seemed like the Kent State product was being pushed more and more into the lineup until he fully replaced Welker in 2013. Welker, at the time they let him walk, was around the same age Edelman and Amendola are now – 31.
Yes. Edelman and Amendola have been great in New England but between them, they haven’t been the most durable bunch only playing three full seasons combined. Carr, after he took the mantle at Northwestern in his senior season, never missed a game and barely missed any playing time during the 2016 college season.
One cannot look over the eerie similarity that Carr was overlooked and went undrafted. Much like Welker, Edelman, and Amendola when they were overlooked trying to enter the NFL as rookies.
The Patriots are an organization that doesn’t plan for now, but for years ahead. They did it with the Welker era, and with Amendola on a year by year basis with the team and Edelman entering the final year of his contract, they seem to be prepping for the end of the Edelman-Amendola era.