Every time any team gets its hands on a diminutive slot receiver, especially if they're white, we see the Wes Welker comparisons start. Usually, those players are done by the end of their first or second training camp. It's hard making a living as an NFL receiver if you're short.
But it's not just the fans making those connections. The small slot receivers all want to be Wes Welker, too. Behold, Bucs receiver Adam Humphries:
This man inspired me to chase my dreams of playing football. Great to finally meet him! pic.twitter.com/G1TG1AvNsj— Adam Humphries (@adamhumphries13) December 19, 2015
Humphries has 36 catches for 250 yards and one touchdown this year, and has been a serviceable if unspectacular slot receiver. The undrafted rookie did do more than Welker did in his rookie year, though: Welker spent that year on the practice squad, and it took him until getting to New England to really break out with his first 1,000-yard receiving year.
That's largely because making it in the NFL as a small slot receiver means having impeccable short area quickness, the ability to make people miss in space, and a quarterback who thrives on quick, anticipation throws and option routes. So, basically, Tom Brady. With Brady, Wes Welker topped 1,000 yards in all but one season. Without him, he never did.
So is Humphries going to be the next Wes Welker? I doubt it. Winston thrives not on those short, quick throws but on difficult, intermediate passes to his wideouts and tight ends. But Humphries has a role in the Bucs offense, and he's been a valuable player regardless. Welker's status is probably unattainable, but it's always good to dream.