Next Julian Edelman? Patriots shift quarterback Danny Etling to wide receiver at training camp
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick shifted former LSU quarterback Danny Etling to wide receiver Thursday as part of an experiment at training camp.
Belichick is known for experimenting with players in different positions, most notably shifting Julian Edelman to wide receiver/punt returner after starring as a quarterback at Kent State.
“Everyone has a lot of different roles on this team, and I’m no exception,” Etling told reporters. “I’m excited to continue to keep trying to find a different role for myself and do whatever the coaches ask me to do. … 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.”
Video: Seeing Danny Etling work as a WR – and not a QB – was one of the surprise stories from the first day of training camp. pic.twitter.com/tcGPKDeW5e
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) July 26, 2019
Etling’s move was obvious to spectators and reporters at Thursday’s open practice because the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Etling was no longer wearing red — the non-contact color jersey QBs wear. He was seen catching passes from Tom Brady and also taking practice repetitions on special teams.
Etling, who was drafted by the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL draft, spent his rookie season on the practice squad. During his senior season at LSU, he threw for 2,463 yards with 16 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Etling’s teammate, Phillip Dorsett, compared Etling to New Orleans Saints quarterback/H-back Taysom Hill, who was part of a scheme that saw the Saints run 175 snaps with two QBs on the field last year.
“We always knew Danny could play different positions. I always used to joke with him and call him Taysom Hill,” Dorsett told reporters.
Etling was fourth on the depth chart behind Brady, veteran Brian Hoyer and 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham.