Bubble watch: Julian Edelman

(Beginning a month-long series analyzing players who are on the roster bubble and where they may potentially fit in 2013.)

NAME: Julian Edelman

POSITION: Wide receiver

AGE: 27

2012 STATS: 9 games (3 starts), 21 receptions (235 yards, 3 touchdowns), 4 rushes (45 yards), 1 fumble, 3 kick returns (38 yards), 17 punt returns (263 yards, 1 touchdown)

INJURY STATUS: Recovering from foot injury that ended 2012 season; suffered setback and was spotted in walking boot as recently as May 31


WHY HE SHOULD MAKE IT: Edelman is the only wide receiver who recorded a catch last season who is still on the roster. His familiarity with quarterback Tom Brady makes him an asset, especially with uncertainty swirling around the tight end position. The Patriots drafted two receivers in April -- Aaron Dobson (second round) and Josh Boyce (fourth round) -- but both were sidelined with injuries during minicamp earlier this month. While Edelman also has been unable to practice this offseason, it would be a risky proposition to let go of a known quantity in the offense.

WHY HE SHOULD NOT MAKE IT: Now entering his fifth NFL season, the former seventh-round pick has taken root in the NFL, but there are still questions about his ceiling. For a while, there was talk of him being a capable replacement for Wes Welker. Instead, the Patriots turned to free agent Danny Amendola this offseason when Welker departed. They also added veteran running back Leon Washington, who has extensive experience as both a kick and punt returner, which could limit Edelman's value on special teams. If Dobson and Boyce are able to build confidence within the offense, Edelman could slide down the depth chart, with salary ($715,000 plus $40,000 Week 1 roster bonus) and durability (has not played full 16-game season) concerns putting him at risk of not making the final cut.

CLOSEST COMPETITION: WR Donald Jones, WR Lavelle Hawkins, WR Kenbrell Thompkins