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Thursday, November 8, 2012
Wes Welker is racking up the YAC

By James Walker

Wes Welker is not the biggest or fastest receiver in the NFL. In fact, he’s one of the smallest at 5-foot-9 and would probably lose to half of NFL receivers in a foot race.

Welker
However, the New England Patriots Pro Bowl receiver is using his quickness and smarts to get open -- wide open. Welker leads the AFC in yards after catch.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, 374 of Welker’s 736 yards this season have been gained after the catch. This is an impressive stat because Welker is not a deep threat. Most of his catches are short gains across the middle of the field, and Welker has to find holes in the defense and make defenders miss.

Welker only trails Minnesota Vikings speedy receiver Percy Harvin, who has 528 yards after the catch. Harvin has made huge plays this season and averages 8.5 in YAC.

Welker, who is playing on a one-year franchise tag, continues to increase his value ahead of free agency. He leads New England with 60 receptions.

Here are the AFC East YAC leaders at the midpoint of the season:
  1. Patriots WR Welker, 374 yards
  2. Bills RB C.J. Spiller, 259 yards
  3. Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski, 225 yards
  4. Dolphins RB Reggie Bush, 174 yards
  5. Dolphins WR Davone Bess, 165 yards