Julian Edelman and 4 Other College Quarterbacks Who Switched Positions for the NFL

It’s easy to assume an NFL player holds the same position they had in college. Who would take on the crazy task of switching positions? Surprisingly, many players are willing to make a change. It could mean more minutes or a better team.

A common switch-up involves the QB position. The following college quarterbacks changed positions seamlessly in order to succeed in the NFL.

Julian Edelman, Kent State

The reigning Super Bowl MVP didn’t begin as a wide receiver but converted after the Patriots drafted him in 2009. Edelman played all 31 of his college games at the quarterback position, passing for just under 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. He did, however, throw 31 interceptions.

Maybe utilizing his other gifts was the right option. With Tom Brady doing a great job for the Patriots, it’s safe to say Edelman made the right transition. 

Denard Robinson, Michigan

Denard Robinson was a successful dual-threat quarterback at Michigan. His 4,495 rushing yards became an NCAA FBS record. His 6,250 passing yards total wasn’t too shabby, either. Robinson rushed for 42 touchdowns and passed for 49, keeping defenses on their toes. His ability to play two different styles allowed Robinson to go from wide receiver to running back in the NFL.

Michael Robinson, Penn State

While Edelman and Robinson made the switch from quarterback to wide receiver, Michael Robinson went from quarterback — for Penn State’s legendary program — to fullback. A decent QB during his 248 games at Penn State, he threw for 3,531 yards and 23 touchdowns. Michael also rushed for 1,600 yards and 20 touchdowns, proving to be a balanced attacker.

Over the course of his eight-year NFL career, Michael used this balance to play wide receiver and running back on top of being a Pro Bowl fullback. 

Josh Cribbs, Kent State 

Like Edelman, Cribbs went to Kent State as a quarterback before making his transition to the NFL. Unlike Edelman, however, he had to overcome the hurdle of finding a new position while being undrafted. In four years at Kent State, Cribbs threw for 45 touchdowns and nearly 7,200 yards. He rushed for an additional 38 touchdowns and 3,670 yards. 

While the versatile athlete switched positions throughout his career, Cribbs was mostly known as a wide receiver. He became a three-time Pro Bowler and one-time First-Team All-Pro during his 10-year NFL career. 

Brad Smith, Missouri 

Brad Smith was another dual-threat quarterback when he played for Missouri. He threw for an astonishing 8,644 yards and 56 touchdowns during his four years there. If that wasn’t enough, he rushed for 4,193 yards and 44 touchdowns, making him a chore for defenders to guard. 

During his 10-year NFL career, Smith mostly played wide receiver. While he was never a star, his career showed he was more than capable of making transitions.