Calculating what Welker meant to Patriots

March, 13, 2013
3/13/13
7:28
PM ET
A roundup of Wes Welker-related trends and numbers that come into play as the Patriots adapt without their leading receiver:

* Welker leads the NFL with 672 receptions since joining the Patriots in 2007, 80 more than any other player over that span.

* Welker has the most seasons with 100 receptions (five) in NFL history. He had all five with the Patriots.

* Welker leaves the Patriots as the team’s career leader in receptions. He will return to New England this season, when the Patriots host the Broncos on a to-be-determined date. The Patriots beat the Broncos 31-21 in New England in Week 5 last season.

* Welker has led all receivers in yards after the catch in 4 of the last 5 seasons.

* Welker led the league in receptions, receiving yards and receiving first downs when lined up in the slot in 2012. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning completed a league-high 71.7 percent of his passes to slot receivers last season.

* How will Welker’s departure affect Tom Brady? Over the last 4 seasons, Brady has completed 72.7 percent of his passes to Welker, second to only Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson among QB-WR combinations with at least 200 targets over that span.

* Since the start of 2009, Brady has targeted Welker 616 times. No other Patriots wide receiver has more than 184 targets (Deion Branch) during that time.

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Welker could become the 13th player to have both Brady and Manning as a teammate (minimum 1 game played with each). He would join players such as Adam Vinatieri, Dan Koppen and Tyrone Poole.

* Welker stays close to the line of scrimmage. Only Danny Amendola (6 yards) has a shorter average target depth than Welker (6.7 yards) among wide receivers over the last 4 seasons. Since the start of 2008, 85 percent of Welker’s receptions have been within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. No other wide receiver has had a higher rate of receptions within 10 yards during that time.

* Welker led the NFL in receptions, receiving yards and receiving first downs out of the slot last season. He had more of each when lined up in the slot than all Broncos wide receivers combined.

* Manning completed 71.7 percent of his passes to slot receivers last year, best among all quarterbacks with at least 50 targets to slot receivers.

* Welker, Drew Brees, Larry Fitzgerald and Joe Thomas are the only offensive players to make the Pro Bowl in each of the last 5 seasons.

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