Wes Welker: Patriots WR Will Continue to Prove He's an Elite NFL Receiver

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 7:   Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots reacts in the end zone after he got by Chris Harris #25 of the Denver Broncos in the first half for a touchdown at Gillette Stadium on October 7, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Remember when Wes Welker was being "phased out" of the Patriots' offense?

Me neither.

Through the first six games of the season, Wes Welker has caught 48 passes for 622 yards, numbers that put him second on the NFL leaderboard. He's done that on only 51 targets, meaning that Welker is catching 94 percent of the passes Tom Brady throws his way.

Welker trails Percy Harvin in receptions and A. J. Green in receiving yards. Harvin catches 79 percent of Christian Ponder's passes in Minnesota, while Green catches only 72 percent of what Andy Dalton throws his way in Cincinnati.

No wide receiver with at least 50 targets on the season (heading into Sunday's games) has been as much of a sure thing as Welker through the season's first six games.

Over his last four games, Welker has 40 receptions for 513 yards and two touchdowns. He's gone over 100 yards receiving in each game, and the last two have come with at least 10 receptions and a touchdown as well.

Welker is going to join the ranks of legends at some point this season as well, perhaps as early as Sunday afternoon against the Jets:

Patriots WR Wes Welker 10 receptions in back-to-back games. Welker has 16 career games with 10 receptions, 1 shy of Jerry Rice's NFL record

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 21, 2012

Normally, this would be the time that I bring up the pass defenses left on the Patriots schedule. Yet with Tom Brady continuing to run the Patriots' offense, the team New England is playing doesn't matter. Brady is going to move the ball around the field.

Welker remains a vital part of Brady's arsenal—he's the Patriots' leading receiver—and we've seen the numbers that this duo can put up when things are clicking like they are right now.

By season's end, those numbers are sure to equal—or to surpass—what Welker posted in 2011, when there was no question as to whether he was among the elite receivers in the NFL.

All Wes Welker does is catch passes—and he does it as well as, if not better than, anyone else in the NFL.