Only a couple years ago the undersized, NFL star receiver known as the “Slot Machine” paid huge dividends for both AFC teams.
Welker served as a valuable weapon that elite QB’s Tom Brady and Peyton Manning relied upon when #83 suited up for the Pats and more recently with the Broncos. Brady and Manning probably wish they still had Welker lined up in the slot as the #1 and #2 seeded teams take the field at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium on Sunday.
Unquestionably, Welker’s brilliance as a receiver helped bolster the stellar careers of both Brady and Manning.
For a dozen years, Welker wowed football fans with an indomitable spirit and incredible ability to catch footballs.
However, that wasn’t always the case.
Wes Welker Went Undrafted in 2004
NFL scouts originally thought he was too small. They also thought he lacked the necessary speed and athleticism to play professionally.
But, just like a casino slot machine can unexpectedly pay out big dividends, the talented slot receiver Wes Welker did the same. He proved all the so-called NFL experts wrong.
Undrafted out of Texas Tech University in 2004, Wes Welker consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic and high football IQ wherever he played the game. He also repeatedly got open. Welker regularly caught the football when thrown his way during his first three NFL seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
The New England Patriots took note of Welker’s consistency and surprising athleticism and traded for him in 2007. Once he became a Pat, Wes Welker starred in Coach Bill Belichick’s pass oriented offense.
The “Slot Machine” Has Defied NFL Odds
At just 5’9” and 185 lbs. the undersized slot receiver known as the “Slot Machine” defied all NFL odds. He became a two-time NFL All-Pro first team wide receiver and went on to set 15 individual NFL receiving records.
Twice a member of New England’s AFC Championship Teams in 2007 and 2011, Welker set an NFL record by catching more than 110 passes in four different NFL seasons. He also holds the record of 99 yards for the longest NFL pass play.
Once considered one of the NFL’s best overall receivers, Welker caught a pass in every game he wore a Patriots’ jersey.
Without doubt, he was New England QB Tom Brady’s favorite target.
NFL scouts have certainly regretted overlooking the undersized Wes Welker in the 2004 NFL Draft. They never imagined the football jackpot this undersized slot receiver would become.
Wes Welker’s exceptional hands, great football instincts and consistent work ethic have served him well. They helped him become a five-time NFL Pro Bowl wide receiver and one of the league’s most popular players.
NFL fans also witnessed big things from this undersized Broncos receiver in the Mile High City until the Broncos released him in 2014.
St. Louis Rams Sign Welker in November 2015
In November 2015, the St. Louis Rams surprisingly signed the concussion prone Welker to a one-year deal, hoping the “Slot Machine” can pay off big for them, too, in 2016. Here’s hoping he does and stays healthy in the process.
Though Wes Welker won’t be playing in this weekend’s AFC Championship Game in Denver, references to the “Slot Machine” and the impact he’s had on both QB’s legacies are sure to surface.
And, that’s a payout all NFL fans will enjoy hearing.
MIKE on sports!