While wide receiver Randy Moss is the marquee pickup of the offseason for New England, he's not the only receiver that was added to the Patriots roster who's expected to make a big impact. New England also traded for former Dolphin Wes Welker, who will work out of the slot while Moss and Donte' Stallworth stretch the field. New England sent its second and seventh round selections in this year's draft to Miami for the versatile Welker.
The 5-9, 185-pound Welker caught a career high 67 passes for the Dolphins last season, while also serving as return man on both kickoffs and punts. He does most of his damage when lined up as a slot receiver, something that's likely to continue in New England.
The Patriots saw what Welker could do first hand last year in their first meeting with the Dolphins. In that game, he caught nine passes for 77 yards and returned four kickoffs for 103 yards. All of Welker's nine receptions came when he was lined up inside as a slot receiver.
"I think the slot is suited for a guy that is a little bit quicker," Welker said. "Whereas outside is probably fitted for a little bit bigger guy, stretching the field and things of that nature."
The second time the two teams met, however, Bill Belichick and his defense were waiting for Welker. The Patriots double-teamed him most of the afternoon, limiting Welker to just one reception for minus-one yard.
"It was a frustrating day," Welker said about the Dec. 10 meeting, even though the Dolphins shutout the Patriots 21-0. "It's one of those deals where you're kind of excited about it, but at the same time, you're upset that you're not able to produce like you know you're capable of."
During his three seasons in Miami, Welker caught 96 passes for 1,121 yards and a touchdown. He also averaged 9.7 yards on punt returns and 22.7 yards on kickoffs. Welker is expected to help bolster the Patriots' return game, as well as their receiving corps.
On paper, Welker and the Patriots appear to be a perfect fit.
"I always kind of envied what the Patriots have done while I was at Miami just because I feel like that's me," Welker said. "You look at me on a piece of paper and I don't look like much at all. But put me on a field with a bunch of guys who like to play ball and it's a whole different story."
How He Fits: Wes Welker
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