The Patriots decided to have one of their quarterbacks work out at receiver on Thursday.
It’s been 10 years since the Patriots turned Julian Edelman from a college quarterback into an NFL receiver after using a seventh-round pick on him, and if the first day of training camp was any indication, it appears Bill Belichick is going to try to work the same magic with 2018 seventh-round pick Danny Etling.
When Etling showed up for the Patriots first practice of training camp on Thursday, he wasn’t wearing his red quarterback jersey and he wasn’t throwing any passes. Instead, Etling was wearing a white offensive jersey and he was playing receiver (and some special teams).
Since New England is pretty set at quarterback with Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer and rookie Jarrett Stidham, the Patriots coaching staff asked Etling to switch positions, and it seems that he’s already embracing his new role.
“Everyone has a lot of different roles on this team, and I’m no exception,” Etling said, via ESPN.com. “I’m excited to continue to keep trying to find a different role for myself and do whatever the coaches ask me to do.”
Although Eltling is highly familiar with playing quarterback — after all, he started a total of 35 games at quarterback in college while attending Purdue and LSU — he’s not so familiar with playing receiver. However, the 25-year-old feels that all his experience as a quarterback will actually help him play his new position.
“I’ve coached it a lot being a quarterback, and I understand offensive football, and it’s helped me get a different perspective of the game itself,” Etling said.
Etling spent his rookie season on the Patriots’ practice squad, where he must have showed off some serious athleticism, because after seeing Etling play, Phillip Dorsett compared him to the Saints’ Taysom Hill.
“We always knew Danny could play different positions,” Dorsett told ESPN. “I always used to joke with him and call him Taysom Hill.”
If Etling’s position switch is just half as successful as Edelman’s, that would be good news for the Patriots. Like Etling, Edelman was also a seventh-round pick. The Super Bowl MVP was a college quarterback at Kent State, but the Patriots decided to move him to receiver after drafting him.
Etling definitely has some athleticism and he showed it off last year when he scored on an 86-yard run during a 17-12 preseason win over the Giants.