AP All-Pro WR Wes Welker - an indication of things to come?

You old time Pulpiteers are quite aware, almost bored to tears with, my bromance/mancrush on Wes Welker.  There's only one other Pats Pulpit member who comes close (I'll give you a hint: he lights things on fire and punches them).  Moving on... I think he's one of the most influential New England Patriots to don a flying Elvis in years.  As a 2008 and 2009 Pro Bowl alternate and now one of AP's 2 All-Pro First Team wide receivers for 2009, others seem to be coming to that same conclusion.  Told ya so.  It's just a shame he won't be able to participate in the Pro Bowl.

The fact that he's an alternate for the Pro Bowl doesn't bother me that much.  The Pro Bowl is typically a very simplistic game plan with generic wideouts; it's rare to see a slot/underneath specialist like Wes get the nod.  Which makes me believe the AP All-Pro First Team honor has more cache to it.

A few stats to think upon:

  • 2nd in total yards: 1,348
  • 1st in receptions: 123
  • 2nd in yards per game: 96.3
  • 2nd in first downs: 71

The uneducated will dismiss this as, "Wes is Tom Brady's checkdown, he's one of his first looks so he gets the long handoffs."  True.  Wes gets a lot of looks.  However, that's superficial.  At one of my former jobs, for a technical person I had a surprising level of access to senior leaders.  Uncomfortable with this access, I approached my manager and he said, "You have that level of access because you've earned it."  The same with Wes.  Do you honestly think Brady would give Welker a second look if he wasn't so SURE he could do something with the ball?  The little engine that can gets those looks and gets the ball so often because he's a) talented and b) reliable.

Oh, and one other interesting statistic before I forget:

!!HE DID IT ALL IN 13 GAMES!!

That is absolutely mind boggling, to say the least.  13 games.  Whatever he's being paid, it's not enough.  Which leads me to my next point.  Welker has distinguished himself as a singular talent.  Sure, there are many slot receivers in the NFL, but none comparable to Wes.  A unique combination of size, jack rabbit quickness, footwork, and sure hands has put Wes in a class all his own.  For now.

What's the sincerest form of flattery?  Imitation.  Other teams are not stupid; they can see the success Welker has had, both on the field and through his stats.  Every team's OC should be telling their scouting department, "Get me one of them there quick little guys.  You know, like Welker."  Some already have their bases covered (Indy's Dallas Clark comes to mind; he's not a quick, little buy but a valuable asset for Peyton Manning), but if you don't have a checkdown/slot/underneath guy, why not go for a Welker clone?

Wes' success is turning heads...finally.  Don't be surprised if teams begin scouting and looking for Welker wannabes.  There'll be a run on 'em, for sure.  And while we're at it, I'm sure every DC in football will begin to think about how they can stop these Mighty Mouse derivatives.  It may end up being a standard thing in the years to come, these little engines that can.

They can copy the physical proportions.  They even may be able to come close to the skill level.  But they'll never duplicate the drive, the heart.  It's comforting to know we have the original.  Let us hope the mold has been shattered in a million pieces.

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