Looking at the number of college prospect comparisons made to Wes Welker every year, one would figure every NFL franchise would have a Welker by now. Clearly, being a white, speedy, deceptive and skilled route runner with soft hands are not the only qualifiers to consummate the expectations of the prototype slot receiver. And yet, we continue on with the search for the next #83. Here on the long list of names, we have Jared Abbrederis, WR from Wisconsin.
Jared Abbrederis, Senior, WR/KR/PR, Wisconsin, Height: 6'2", Weight: 188, 40 dash: 4.41
At first glance, Jared Abbrederis has a very similar physique as Wes Welker, a couple inches taller and a tenth of a second faster in the 40 dash. Abbrederis was not always the explosive receiver he is now, he was an all-conference defensive back and quarterback in high school, and walked on at Wisconsin to showcase his sure hands and quick feet. He has been lauded as an upstanding teammate by players and coaches alike and has been married since last summer and has very strong christian beliefs (not that it really matters but it's interesting). Abbrederis played third fiddle to Nick Toon and Monte Ball/Badger's running game in 2011 and 2012, catching 55 and 49 balls for 933yards/8TDs and 837/5TDs respectively. He has emerged as the primary target in the receiving game early on for UW with 23 rec, 365 yards, and 3TDs during the first four games.
He has always been a very explosive player with 14.5, 17.0, 17.1, 15.9 yards per reception averages in the last four years with longest catches being 74, 51, 60, 65 yards. He was particularly impressive as the primary PR and KR in 2011 showing the ability to "go north and south" as the previous Wisconsin Badgers Head Coach Bret Bielema said about Abbrederis.
Here are some highlights and a game vs Oregon in the Rose Bowl
Jared Abbrederis Highlights (via Jonathon Zenk)
Jared Abbrederis vs Oregon (2012 Rose Bowl) (via DCheeseB)
:50 and 7:30 in particular replay him running the entire route... looks very similar to Wes Welker there
Abbrederis isn't going to flat out beat the defense with speed most of the time in the big league, but he is touted as one of, if not the best route runner in college football, and his knack for finding open seams and gaps against the defense is a crucial skill that translates well to the NFL. He is running the go route more and running less underneath routes than he should at the next level, but he seems like a candidate who would excel in the slot. He also is a much better and feistier blocker than his appearance suggests, which also lends some credence to the Welker comparisons. He has very soft hands, great ball skills, and maintains good position all the way through to make the catch. It sucks that the Chiefs don't have a 2nd rounder to draft players that will be falling out of the first round, but you never know how high any player's stock can rise at this point. Interesting to look at Wes Welker comparison players nevertheless.