In just about every game a player jumps out from the rest, and grabs my attention. In this article we’ll look at a couple of the small lightweight wide receivers that are taking the NFL by storm. These little guys are clutch players, and opposing defences are struggling to match up against them play after play. Of course the NFL is a copy cat league, and so there has to have been a prototype. We’ll take a look at the current best in class; take a look at a similar up and comer, and we’ll also see why these guys are as good as they are.
Some eyebrows were raised around the league when the New England Patriots traded with the Miami Dolphins for Wes Welker. Welker had been a pretty anonymous receiver in Miami; showing more promise as a kick returner, and special teams general purpose player. He certainly got a lot of attention while playing against the New England Patriots. He seemed to be all over the field in more than one game against the power house AFC East team, and they must have seen his number popping up all over their game film. In 2007 they showed their respect for Welker by offering him a short term deal. They took a small risk.
The rest of course is history. The gamble paid off. Welker has broken many Patriot records, and a few NFL ones too. In a conference where some of the NFL’s top receivers have populated the top of the stats lists; the little guy in New England has remained one of the most consistent. Welker has been selected to the Pro Bowl in every year with the Patriots, and he looks to continue that trend. At a comparatively small 5’9” and 189lbs; he tops this list of little guys that have what it takes to produce in the NFL. The numbers speak for themselves. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we hear his name in the Hall of Fame conversations after he retires.
Watching the NFC west this season has been different to previous seasons, as the Rams are showing the signs of improvement that they promised just a couple of years ago. Of course that improvement would have come sooner if not for the massive injury woes that the Rams endured in the 2011 season.
On the Rams roster there are quite a few bright young stars but Danny Amendola is why they feature in this report. Many people compare this 5’11” 188lb receiver to Wes Welker, and he is similar. The Rams signed him off the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad as a special teams player; hoping to get a versatile player that could fit into many different roles. The numbers aren’t there yet, and he has had a few injury problems. He missed much of the 2011 season with a dislocated elbow, and he had a serious scare in 2012 when he dislocated his collar bone. In that injury the bone went inside rather than out, and narrowly missed his aorta. Amendola was back just three weeks later; playing against the San Francisco 49ers. He put up good numbers in that game; showing that he was ready to continue with the season. Consistently good performances have only been interrupted by those injuries. If he can get over them then his numbers will only surge as he matures more into his position. Amendola has been in the league since 2009, and he has only really produced starting figures in one of those seasons. He is however building on those numbers, and reminding us to keep an eye on his future, and with Sam Bradford at QB, he has every chance for further success.
So one of these receivers is established, and the other is on the way up. They both follow in the footsteps of previous greats; Welker is a current star, and if he can avoid more injuries then so Amendola will be too.