Marquez Valdes-Scantling was not talked about much heading into the 2018 NFL season. All most people knew about him was that he was a rookie wide receiver that happened to make the Green Bay Packers’ roster. Now, fans are viewing him as a potential star in the future.
Not only has Valdes-Scantling carved out a role for the Packers in his rookie season, he has become a starter. He has also shown top-notch chemistry with Aaron Rodgers.
Throughout the first eight games of his career with the Packers, Valdes-Scantling has caught 17 passes for 358 yards and two touchdowns. His numbers have been rising in recent weeks. He has recorded two 100-yard receiving games in the last two weeks and has shown true star potential.
At just 24 years old, Valdes-Scantling has helped save the Packers’ offense and get them back on track.
How has he been able to do that? Quite simply, he has filled the role that Jordy Nelson left when the Packers decided to release him during the offseason.
Standing in at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Valdes-Scantling is a big target, just like Nelson was. He also has the ability to make plays across the field, on the sidelines, and as a deep threat. That was a weapon that Rodgers desperately needed to find without the comfort of having Nelson on the field.
Before he began emerging this season, the Packers’ offense was fairly one-dimensional. They have Davante Adams, who is one of the top receivers in the game, and Randall Cobb, who has had consistency issues over the years. Outside of those two guys, they didn’t have a unique skill-set at the wide receiver position.
Rodgers now has the luxury of having a big target with above-average speed and a great pair of hands. Valdes-Scantling has shown time and time again that he can make difficult catches, which has led to a lot more trust from his superstar quarterback.
Green Bay has always loved taking shots down the field. Cobb has the ability to break big plays off short catches, while Adams is a more than capable playmaker. That being said, the Packers have seen opposing defenses focus on shutting Adams down, while their other receivers have had issues creating space against defenders.
Valdes-Scantling has not had trouble getting free down the field. He has been able to put pressure on opposing defenses, which has allowed Rodgers to get back to taking big shots deep.
Obviously, the Packers’ offense still has a lot of work to do moving forward. They still need to figure out how to put together drives consistently and the play-calling has been a bit iffy of late. Despite those issues, the emergence of Valdes-Scantling has slowly begun fixing things.
Aaron Jones has taken over as the lead running back and has done a solid job. He did have a costly fumble last week against the New England Patriots, but the Packers are comfortable with him as the starter. Taking pressure off of Rodgers with a solid run game is a major key, which Jones has been able to do.
All of that being said, the Packers could not be more excited to see how Valdes-Scantling continues to develop throughout the remainder of the season.
Expect to see his numbers continue to grow in the second half of the season. Green Bay is confident in his ability and Rodgers may very well have a new second favorite target in the making.