Welker, overlooked by so many teams this offseason, was overlooked by our crew as well. Here's my list:
1. Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks
He's a little riskier than some others on this list because we haven't seen enough of him for a full season. (Although he racked up 1,312 yards from scrimmage in 2011 and was off to a fantastic start last year.) Harvin is much more than just a slot receiver, which partly is why he ranks No. 1.
2. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
Perhaps Cobb and Harvin wouldn't be as valuable in 2005, but the NFL has changed. Coaches need space players like this who can line up everywhere. Cobb might not be as tough as Harvin, but Cobb is better at making people miss and making plays after the catch. Aaron Rodgers imagines Cobb as a 100-catch guy, and it's hard to disagree.
3. Wes Welker, Denver Broncos
He's not exactly an old man at 32. Perhaps he isn't as scheme transcendent as the other receivers on the list, but Welker's short-area quickness and ability to "see the field with the same eyes" as Tom Brady was sensational. I don't buy the argument that his numbers will plummet with the Broncos. Peyton Manning knows how to work with slot receivers.
4. Victor Cruz, New York Giants
Someone on this list had to get pushed down. Cruz helped auger in the era of the slot receiver as a big-time vertical threat. The Giants traditionally do a nice job setting up their guys inside (Steve Smith, anyone?), which partly could be why the Giants are hesitant to pay Cruz huge dollars.
5. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots
He's not Welker 2.0. Amendola is more like a cross between all the guys above, with an underrated ability to get behind defenders. The talent is there for a monster season, but Amendola's durability issues put him lower on the list.