Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

AFC East's best: No. 5 Wes Welker

By Tim Graham

WelkerMugThe countdown of my top 25 AFC East players continues, one weekday at a time ...

The choice

New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker is the NFL's most prolific target. Welker is one of only three players to catch over 100 passes in four seasons, joining Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison, and the second to catch at least 120 passes twice, joining Cris Carter.

Over the five seasons since he became a Patriot, he leads the NFL with 554 catches (81 more than the next-closest receiver, Brandon Marshall) despite undergoing reconstructive surgery to repair two knee ligaments in that span.

Welker has been selected to four consecutive Pro Bowls and was voted first-team All-Pro for the second time last season. He has been second-team All-Pro twice.

He is coming off the most productive receiving campaign in Patriots history. Welker's league-leading 122 receptions fell one short of his team record and tied for fourth all-time in the NFL. His 1,569 yards set the team record. His nine touchdowns were a career-best.

Welker also tied an NFL record with three games of at least eight catches, 150 yards and a touchdown. His 16-catch, 217-yard performance against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 tied New England's record for catches in a game and broke their yardage record.

Fast fact

Welker became the 13th player in NFL history to score a 99-yard touchdown when Tom Brady hooked up with him on opening day last season.

How acquired

2007 trade with the Miami Dolphins for second- and seventh-round draft choices.

Hint about No. 4

He has been chosen for four straight Pro Bowls.

Picks to date

5. Wes Welker, Patriots receiver
6. Mario Williams, Bills defensive end
7. Vince Wilfork, Patriots nose tackle
8. Jake Long, Dolphins left tackle
9. Logan Mankins, Patriots left guard
10. Cameron Wake, Dolphins outside linebacker
11. Fred Jackson, Bills running back
12. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Jets left tackle
13. Kyle Williams, Bills defensive tackle
14. Sione Pouha, Jets defensive tackle
15. Jairus Byrd, Bills safety
16. Brandon Lloyd, Patriots receiver
17. Stevie Johnson, Bills receiver
18. Reggie Bush, Dolphins running back
19. Jerod Mayo, Patriots inside linebacker
20. Randy Starks, Dolphins defensive lineman
21. Sebastian Vollmer, Patriots right tackle
22. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots tight end
23. Marcell Dareus, Bills defensive tackle
24. Antonio Cromartie, Jets cornerback
25. Eric Wood, Bills center

comments powered by Disqus

About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |