The Patriots are at it again and developing within. Last year’s seventh round draft pick out of LSU, Danny Etling, is making the transition from quarterback to wide receiver.
There has been success in similar transitions before. Julian Edelman was a quarterback-turned-wide receiver. Edelman, however, made the transition before the draft, not into his professional career.
So what can be expected from Etling as receiver? Well, for starters, his speed and size is promising.
At 6 foot 3, Etling posted a 4.76 40-time at the combine in 2018. He was in the top five for quarterbacks at the combine, coming in at number four.
His height also give him the slight advantage over a 5 foot 10 Edelman and Phillip Dorsett. However, rookie receiver N’Keal Harry stands at a slightly taller 6 foot 4.
Working alongside the likes of Harry and Edelman will be to Etling’s advantage in this situation. You have a once quarterback-turned-receiver in Edelman who will understand the ins and outs of the process. This will likely offer the most valuable guidance. Not to mention, Edelman is a top receiver in the league and reining Super Bowl MVP.
The best advice for Etling heading into this new avenue will be to stick by Edelman’s side as much as possible. There may not be a better teacher for the kid.
Harry will be another man Etling will want to learn from if he is to ever get on the receiver rotation. This rookie’s film is impressive itself, but getting the chance to watch him work will be worthwhile for Etling’s transition.
With one year already in the New England system, Etling has another advantage in knowing how this offense operates. Understanding the playbook from a quarterbacks perspective has to give him a slight mental edge. Now, it is a matter of his feet and hands catching up to the challenge.
New England sees the benefits in successfully transitioning Etling to receiver. They can develop a guy that already has some good qualities, like speed and size, and make him a player taylor-made for their system. If successful, this could add good depth to the receiver rotation.
Chances are Etling will not see the field this year as a receiver. As the season goes on and he continues to develop, next year may be his time to get some regular season reps. Right now, Etling should focus on putting his nose to the grindstone and impressing in practice.
The Patriots have a pretty solid duo in Edelman and Harry, a tandem that seems to be a solid bet for the next few years. Dorsett sits at number three, and if Etling impresses in the next year or so he could be competing to take that third slot. But really, any spot on that rotation will be a move in the right direction for him.
It is going to be a hard transition without a doubt, but not impossible. Certainly, it will be interesting to see if Etling can live up to the challenge and find himself on the roster as a receiver.