It might appear that Danny Amendola is replacing Wes Welker as the New England Patriots slot receiver, but that’s not necessarily the case.
Amendola might have been a slot receiver in the past, but he’s a bit more versatile than Welker.
Over the past week or so, we have been hearing comparisons between Amendola and Welker—but I’m not buying it. After seeing Welker play in New England for six seasons and watching film on Amendola, the only real thing that these two have in common is that they line up in the slot—that’s about it.
If you want to compare Amendola to a familiar player, then I’d probably go with Julian Edelman—but I do evaluate Amendola at a superior level compared with Edelman.
The biggest difference between Amendola and Welker is his speed; Amendola is fast, I’ll just leave it at that. Having such quickness off of the snap of the ball will certainly benefit any slot receiver, but Amendola has speed running vertically down field, which allows him to line up on the outside as a traditional X-receiver.
Per Bill Belichick via ESPN Boston:
“[Amendola has] been very productive—on the inside, on the outside.
[We] look forward to working with him. Any new player we get, they come into our system and [we] try to teach him the things that we do and let him do them and evaluate him and see how it all comes together.”
Amendola has played four seasons in the NFL, all with the St. Louis Rams. Out of those possible 64 games, Amendola has appeared in 42 of them. This past season with the Rams, Amendola appeared in 11 games while recording 63 receptions on 101 targets for 666 yards and three touchdowns.
As we inch closer and closer to OTAs, mini camp and eventually training camp, don’t be surprised to see Amendola not only used in the slot but also on the outside.