Correcting a mistake on Welker
|11.23.09 at 1:28 pm ET|
FOXBORO – Before the 2007 season, Bill Belichick was only too happy to be able to correct a mistake that he and his staff felt they made in evaluating Wes Welker.
Sunday’s 15-catch, 193-yard performance simply reinforced just how wise a move it was to trade for him with the Dolphins.
Welker is in the midst of a season even better than his breakout season of 2007. He leads the NFL in catches (79) and yards after catch. And even more remarkably, he’s accomplished that after missing two games of the season.
It’s not so often you hear Belichick or anyone in football readily admit they made a mistake in evaluating a player but Belichick fessed up on Monday in Foxboro that they had a chance to draft Welker in 2004 but passed.
Not that the Patriots were alone. Every other NFL team passed, too with the Patriots electing to take his Texas Tech quarterback, Kliff Kingsbury instead.
“The year he came out was the year we drafted Kingsbury so we got the wrong guy, obviously,” Belichick conceded. “We did a pretty bad job on that, too.”
Belichick said there were some similarities between the Patriots’ spread offense run by Charlie Weis and the one down in Lubbock but not enough to convince the Patriots to draft him.
“Our pass offense is more downfield passing offense,” Belichick said. “Not that they didn’t run downfield, we have more intermediate routes, more variety of routes. A lot of his plays were crossing routes, seams, catch-and-run plays like bubble screens and tear screens and stuff like that.
“He was good and he was productive,” Belichick added. “And so was Kliff. Kliff slung it around down there. They had good production. We were running a lot of spread offense and we kind of projected that but their spread offense is a lot different than ours, as most colleges are, I would say.”
Where the Patriots really got burned is when San Diego released the free agent Welker and Miami picked up him up early in the 2004 season. Welker had huge games against the Patriots as a return specialist and slot receiver.
“We scouted him coming out of college, and he wasn’t drafted,” Belichick said. “Signed with San Diego and San Diego released him and he ended up in Miami and he killed us. He killed us on punt returns and he killed us in the slot.”
The Patriots acquired Welker in the spring of 2007 when they sent two 2007 draft picks, a second-rounder and seventh-rounder, to Miami.
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