New England Patriots Pro Bowl wide receiver Wes Welker said Chad Ochocinco will have a role in New England's offense and he suspects it will be more prominent than the one he had in 2011.
"Chad's such a great player and he has been for a long time," Welker said.
"If you have him go out there and run a comeback, he's the best comeback runner I think I've ever seen. Being able to do some of those different things for us will be huge and I look for him to improve greatly from this past year."
Ochocinco struggled to fully grasp the Patriots' complex scheme after being traded to New England in the lockout shortened offseason. The six-time Pro Bowl receiver had career lows in every major category (minus yards per reception), after playing sparingly due to a lack of familiarity with the ninth ranked offense in the NFL.
That should change with one season under his belt in New England and a full offseason with Tom Brady, Welker and the rest of the Patriots' explosive offense. Ochocinco was never a renowned route runner during his time in Cincinnati, something that is crucial in New England's offense, but he has never lacked talent.
It's tough to buy into Ochocinco's upside in New England after the Patriots signed Brandon Lloyd this offseason. Ochocinco had a tough time getting on the field in 2011 and it's not going to be any easier with Lloyd in town.