Wes Welker wrote the book on playing slot receiver in the NFL but now his replacement in New England, Julian Edelman, is producing the new-and-improved second edition.
Welker will forever be remembered as one of the great Patriots, but his successor in Foxborough has finally surpassed him.
Stanley Morgan and Troy Brown are undisputedly New England’s greatest when it comes to wide receivers, and Randy Moss was as good as any to play for the Patriots, albeit for only a few short years. Below them on the list sits Welker and Edelman – both crucial parts of Tom Brady’s offence.
While the former college quarterback might not ever match Welker’s phenomenal statistical output – which includes a franchise-leading 672 receptions and Pro Bowl selection in every one of his seasons in New England – Edelman boasts the crucial determinant that all greats are marked by – championships.
Welker was part of three failed Super Bowl teams, two of which were with New England. In Super Bowl XLVI Welker famously dropped a crucial pass on second and 11 which would’ve helped the Patriots gain a first down and give them an opportunity to seal the game.
Instead, New England was forced to punt and the Giants drove down the field and took the lead.
Conversely, Edelman has two Super Bowl rings and was Brady’s go-to man on both occasions. In Super Bowl XLIX against the Legion of Boom, Edelman had nine catches for 109 yards, a crucial third-and-14 conversion and the game-winning touchdown.
Two years later Edelman was again a key piece in the championship puzzle, netting 87 yards and the circus catch which kept the game-tying drive alive.
So, put simply, Edelman produced a play to keep his team’s chances alive. Welker bungled a play to keep his team’s chances alive.
That’s not to say Welker completely stunk in Super Bowls, collecting 26 receptions for a total of 247 yards against stringent New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks defences.
Overall Welker’s post-season career with New England reads: nine games, 69 receptions, 686 yards (9.89 yards per catch) and four touchdowns.
That’s a fine sample size which helped the Patriots reach two Super Bowls. Edelman’s post-season career reads: 15 games, 89 receptions, 1024 yards (11.5 yards per catch) and five touchdowns.
These numbers only reinforce the argument that Edelman is not only productive, but he is clutch, producing when it matters – in the playoffs.
Edelman’s ability to deliver in big games and when it counts is what separates him from Welker. But aged 30, there are still a few more chapters to write in Edelman’s book. By the time he’s done he might be on the same page as Morgan and Brown.
Also published via theroar.com.au – http://www.theroar.com.au/2017/02/17/edelman-surpassed-welker-patriots-great/