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AFC East MVPs: Who Is the MVP of the New England Patriots Besides Tom Brady?

MVPP - most valuable pocket-sized pass-catcher.
MVPP - most valuable pocket-sized pass-catcher.Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Erik FrenzSenior Writer IJune 5, 2012

Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker is the most valuable player on the team besides Tom Brady.

Brady has been an NFL MVP, and I have recently called him the AFC East MVP.

To the point, he is the New England Patriots MVP, as well. 

But in an effort to spread the love, we'll give Welker his due.

 

Production

Rob Gronkowski set a record for receiving touchdowns in a single season by a tight end, and though his future is bright, Welker has dominated stat sheets for five seasons with the Patriots.

Over that time, Welker has led the league in receptions twice, and leads the league over a five-year stretch.

His 734 yards after catch ranked first in the NFL among wide receivers according to Pro Football Focus.

From a pure numbers standpoint, Welker is among the best receivers in the league.

 

Reliability

Welker has been one of Brady's most consistent targets, and that's not by mistake. The fact that his production has come so steadily over the course of the past five years is indicative of just how dependable he is.

There are few receivers in the league who can be counted on as heavily to convert third downs as Welker is. Of his 122 receptions, 77 of them (63.1 percent) were for first downs.

Other receivers may get the glory for stretching the field and making spectacular catches, but Welker is a steady and productive receiver who can be counted on.

 

Value

The Patriots might be confident enough to adjust their offense without Welker, but they would be wise not to let it reach that point. Wide receivers have come and gone, but Welker has weathered the storm and has even remained a key cog under two different offensive coordinators.

He is a matchup nightmare, according to Bleacher Report's Sam Monson, and although Welker may not be your conventional deep threat receiver, that doesn't mean he can't affect the game plan.

Monson says, "if a team determines they are going to take him away, they have to go firmly off the game plan, opening things up for other players in that offense to have success."

Welker's true value may not be known until it's too late.

 

Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates.

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