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Making their way in the NFL
December 31, 2013, 05:00 AM By Nathan Mollat Daily Journal

Anyone who follows football on the Peninsula knows the story of Tom Brady — the former Serra standout who has put together a hall-of-fame career as the New England Patriots quarterback.

But Brady was not the only player with Peninsula roots to have a big season in 2013. One had a breakout performance that secured his spot among the best the game, while two others just finished up regular seasons that bode well for their futures.

Julian Edelman (2005 Woodside, New England Patriots WR)

Other than Brady — who ironically is Edelman’s quarterback in New England — Edelman has experienced the greatest amount of success of anyone drafted out of the Peninsula in the last 20 years.

Sunday, Edelman became just the third receiver in New England Patriots history to catch 100 passes in a season and 10th to go over the 1,000-yard mark. His nine-catch, 65-yard performance during a 34-20 win over Buffalo gave Edelman 105 receptions for 1,056 yards for the season.

Not bad for a kid out of Redwood City who made his name as a quarterback. Edelman used his arm and his legs to lead Woodside to the 2004 Central Coast Section Medium School championship. He earned the starting quarterback spot at College of San Mateo as a freshman the following season and led the Bulldogs to an 8-3 record, combining to run and pass for more than 2,500 yards.

He transferred to Kent State for the 2006 season and went on to become a three-year starter at quarterback before being drafted in the seventh round as a wide receiver in the 2009 draft by the Patriots.

People have wondered how the Patriots could done so well this season, given their dearth of wide receivers. The answer is Edelman, who has quietly become one of the top receivers in the NFL.

Paul Fanaika (2004, Mills, Arizona Cardinals RG). Lightly recruited out of Mills, Fanaika just continued to work, eventually earning a college scholarship and parlaying that into a starting spot with an NFL team.

Fanaika was drafted in the same class as Edelman in 2009 by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was out of the league in 2012 after bouncing around between the Eagles, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks practice squads. He made three appearances for the Seahawks in 2011, but was released in the summer of 2012 and never signed with another team.

This spring, Fanaika hooked on with Arizona, seized the starting right guard spot and never relinquished it, starting all 16 games for the Cardinals this season.

Just another example of a guy keeping his eye on the prize. After going to Arizona State as a recruited walk-on, he improved enough to be given a full scholarship and ended his college career by making 35 straight starts.

David Bakhtiari (2009, Serra, Green Bay Packers LT). He could end up having the biggest impact of anyone from the Peninsula since Brady. Bakhtiari left the University of Colorado after his junior year and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round this past spring.

When presumptive starter Brian Bulaga tore up his knee during a preseason scrimmage, Bakhtiari was quickly tossed into the fire at arguably the most crucial position on the offensive line — left tackle, the man most responsible for his quarterback’s blindside, who in this case is Super Bowl winner Aaron Rodgers.

Bakhtiari more than held his own, starting all 16 games for the Packers and earning a spot in the playoffs.

At Colorado, Bakhtiari was essentially a three-year starter — he started 11 of 12 games during his redshirt freshman year — and was ranked one of the top tackles in the nation his junior season.

Nathan Mollat can be reached by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117 or by email: nathan@smdailyjournal.com. You follow him on Twitter@CheckkThissOutt.

 

 

Tags: season, edelman, patriots, quarterback, bakhtiari, starting, nathan mollat, sports lounge, julian edelman, paul fanaika, david bakhtiari


Other stories from today:

UFC’s Silva could fight again after broken leg
Difficult road for 49ers
Tim Tebow joins SEC Network, still pursuing NFL
 

 
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