The Patriots are experimenting with Danny Etling’s position during training camp as coach Bill Belichick is switching him from quarterback to wide receiver.
“Everyone has a lot of different roles on this team,” Etling told reporters (via Boston.com). “I’m no exception, so I’m excited to continue to keep trying to find a different role for myself and keep doing what the coaches ask me to do and keep learning from the leaders in front of me.”
Patriots QB Danny Etling started training camp by taking snaps at wide receiver.
Next Julian Edelman?pic.twitter.com/eka3BSEsCH
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) July 25, 2019
Etling started his NFL career on the practice squad and hasn’t participated in a regular-season game after New England selected him in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL draft out of LSU, presumably as a third-string quarterback. Etling began his college career Purdue as a highly recruited QB.
His potential position change comes after the Patriots bolstered their quarterback depth by adding Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham in the fourth round of the 2019 draft to sit behind Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer.
“One thing’s definitely for sure in football is there’s always constant change, so you definitely want to continue to develop as many skills and talents as you can to help the team and help the team expand,” Etling added.
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 admitted that he’s never “really played” as a wide receiver, but reiterated that he’s excited for the challenge.
“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. “I’m going to do whatever it takes for myself to help the team out. Whatever role the coaches ask me to do, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability.”
There is some precedent for the Patriots: Receiver and 2019 Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman, one of Brady’s favorite targets, was a quarterback in college at Kent State, though he always has been a wideout in the NFL.