Don't Write Off Marquez Valdes-Scantling Just Yet

It was a rough end to the 2019 season for Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but don't write him off just yet. 

There's no real way to sugarcoat it, while Davante Adams was Davante Adams and we saw the emergence of Allen Lazard in 2019, overall the Green Bay Packers' wide receiver unit was quite underwhelming. At times moving the ball through the air seemed nearly impossible and the offense's inability to create explosive plays took away that home run hitting element that we've grown accustomed to over the years. 

Geronimo Allison struggled with drops and just wasn't dynamic with the ball in his hands, and he now finds himself in Detroit. While Jimmy Graham battled inconsistency and a lack of playmaking ability, so he now finds himself in Chicago. But Marquez Valdes-Scantling who had a second-half of the season to forget about is still around, and the Green Bay Packers are going to need him to bounce-back in a big way. 

What just about everyone is going to remember about Valdes-Scantling and the 2019 season is the bad. And that's understandable because it certainly wasn't pretty at times. There were misplayed deep balls, knee and ankle injuries that may have been hindering him, and an overall inefficiency when targeted.

According to Pro Football Focus, on passes of 20 or more yards last season, Valdes-Scantling would catch just five of the 19 thrown his way with only one touchdown. Even on intermediate routes, he was still unreliable. With passes from Aaron Rodgers that fell in the 10 to 19 yard range, Valdes-Scantling would still only catch five of 10. And overall his catch rate in 2019 sat at a lowly 46.4 percent. 

Sure, when you're a deep threat, you're catch rate isn't going to be as high as other receivers, it's just the nature of the position. The odds of completing the pass simply decrease. Now with that said, those numbers that we saw from Valdes-Scantling last season cannot happen again. 

The end result for Valdes-Scantling was that his playing time dwindled over the second half of the season and he tumbled down the depth chart. In fact, after averaging nearly 51 snaps per game through the first eight weeks of the season, Valdes-Scantling played just 67 total snaps from Weeks 13 through 17. 

Like I said, it wasn't pretty. But it's not all doom and gloom either when it comes to Valdes-Scantling. He's shown that he can make those big, game-changing plays for this Packers' offense. 

As a rookie in 2018, Valdes-Scantling had shown a lot of promise, and what gets lost in how poorly the 2019 season ended for him, was the strong start that he had to the year.

Through the first seven games, he had totaled 21 receptions and averaged nearly 20 yards catch, along with two touchdown receptions. This also includes a 99 yard performance against Denver and a 133 yard game against Oakland. Not to mention his 47-yard catch Week 1 in Chicago that led to the only touchdown of the game. 

On top of that, he has nine career catches over 40 yards and 13 over 20. That equals out to over 20 percent of his career catches going for at least 20 yards. Not bad at all, if you're asking me.  

Despite the roller-coaster ride that the 2019 season was for Valdes-Scantling, there's plenty to be excited about when it comes to his big-play ability. And with the emergence of Lazard, the addition of Devin Funchess, and the return of Equanimeous St. Brown, he's not someone to be forgotten about either. We know that QB1 hasn't:

“MVS is a guy who I have a ton of confidence in,” Rodgers said during a conference call last month. “I really feel like, if he can continue to grow, he can really add to our football team. I look for him to make big strides.”

With no new vertical additions at the wide receiver position this offseason, Valdes-Scantling is once again going to get plenty of opportunities. Especially with Matt LaFleur putting more of an emphasis on creating explosive plays in 2020: 

“One area we really need to improve on is creating more explosive plays. We were pretty efficient, but were 23rd in explosive plays. That starts with play calling (and) maybe take a few more chances to help generate those plays down the field.”

So far this offseason, much of the talk has been centered around the Green Bay Packers becoming more "run-oriented," they still have Aaron Rodgers under center, and capitalizing off of play-action is going to be key as well. That could very well mean plenty of shot-plays downfield for Valdes-Scantling and his blazing 4.38 speed.

While it's not necessarily an apples to apples comparison since both Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams were second-round picks and Valdes-Scantling was taken in the fifth, we saw each of those receivers make a big jump in Year 3, and it's going to be crucial for both Valdes-Scantling and the Packers that he makes similar strides as well.

As LaFleur pointed out after the draft, it isn't going to be easy, but it is a must:

“You look at MVS, the speed that he has – he has to take that next step, and that’s going to be a challenge for him, and we’re going to be all over him to do that.”

When it comes to the 2020 season for Valdes-Scantling, it's really now or never for him. A repeat of the second half of 2019 likely ends his tenure with the Packers. However, if he can rebound he is going to give this offense a much-needed boost in the passing game and give them an element that was lacking in the final months of last season. 

Putting together a solid training camp and preseason is going to be important, as it will not only signal to the coaches and his teammates that he's ready to take that step forward but it will also build his confidence as well.

With all eyes locked on the wide receiver group this summer, don't forget about Marquez Valdes-Scantling. He's made a number of big plays over his short career and he could absolutely play a key role in this offense in 2020. 

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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Comments (43)

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TrickyFrick's picture

June 12, 2020 at 01:15 pm

The same thing happened during his rookie season. His physical gifts flashed early but fell off as the season went on. At the same time EQ started slow but built trust with Rodgers as the season progressed.

It's a make or break year for both these guys.

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TrickyFrick's picture

June 12, 2020 at 01:17 pm

The same thing happened during his rookie season. His physical gifts flashed early but fell off as the season went on. At the same time EQ started slow but built trust with Rodgers as the season progressed.

It's a make or break year for both these guys.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 12, 2020 at 11:14 pm

You can say that again!

You can say that again!

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nostradanus's picture

June 12, 2020 at 01:52 pm

I have not been real high on MVS from the start, maybe it's his long stride but his play speed does not look like 4.38. He also does not seem very instinctive, he rounds off his routes and doesn't seem interested in blocking (which is a must in MLF Offense). I have nothing against MVS personally and I would love for him to succeed, but I just don't see it.

Depth Chart as I see it:

#1 Davante Adams - the Stud
#2 Allan Lazard - he makes clutch plays and blocks his ass off
#3 Deven Funchass - he's a proven NFL wideout and has been very good at snagging Cam's off target throws
#4 EQ St. Brown - Much smoother route runner than MVS, almost as fast and better hands
#5 Reggie Begelton - Gutey wouldn't have signed him to a 3 year deal if he didn't think he could make the team.
#6 Jake Kumerow - Jake plays special teams, MVS didn't play special teams (or very little) Kumerow also blocks
#7 MVS - Because of his speed MVS has a chance, but his route tree is limited and he never seems to be in sync with Rodgers.

I truly wish the kid the best, but I believe this is his last shot after a pretty poor performance last season.

That is all...

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cheesehead1's picture

June 12, 2020 at 03:24 pm

Really looking forward to see how good Begelton is (hopefully). When did Gute sign him to a 3 year deal? I can’t recall reading about any details other than he was signed to a reserve/futures contract whatever that is.

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nostradanus's picture

June 12, 2020 at 03:34 pm

3 years 2.2 million - over the cap.com

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dobber's picture

June 12, 2020 at 03:47 pm

True: that's a pretty standard street free agent deal, but with essentially no guaranteed money, there's nothing in that deal that forces the Packers to make a hard cap decision if he's outplayed.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 12, 2020 at 11:17 pm

Begelton is our small slot guy whe we go 11.

Sternberger and deguara will slot up occasionally too.

I hate to see Shepherd disappear, I like the kid, I hope he forces Ervin off the roster with a return of confidence and playmaking as a returner and slot guy.

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Coldworld's picture

June 13, 2020 at 11:13 am

Bagelton isn’t really a slot. He isn’t that small at 6 ft, 200 pounds and he isn’t known as a quick twitch guy. He excelled on the perimeter primarily, at contested catches and route running according to my CFL following friends.

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Coldworld's picture

June 13, 2020 at 11:24 am

I have pointed this out before. The team hasn’t signaled anything with Bagelton’s contract. It’s all in the team’s favor. Great if he pans out.

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flackcatcher's picture

June 12, 2020 at 04:33 pm

A lot of this is going to depend on how MLF uses his TE and RB. MLF offense changes with the draft. Will the Packers even carry 6 WR, or 5 WR plus one on the PS? Injuries forced MLF to go away from the run game near the end of the season and then limited what he could do in his play action pass game. In this system only 5 are needed. Keeping more than that depends on factors that are more a GMs call, then a coaching call. We'll see...

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Coldworld's picture

June 12, 2020 at 06:33 pm

He doesn’t play like 4.38? Getting behind defenses hasn’t been his issue. He was raw coming in, which is why a 6 ft 4 receiver weigh 4.3 speed was available in the 5th. If he gets better at running a broader route tree, that’s when his value will really unlock. That is an if, but with the exception of the unknown Taylor, he is by far the fastest we have, timed and in the case of MVS in games, do better hope he comes through.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 12, 2020 at 11:20 pm

MVS would have had monster stats and impact if Rodgers didn't regularly underthrow him when he was open over the top.

Getting on Rodgers sync must mean not running fast and beating DB's.

Before MVS injuries slowed him, Rodgers was his kryptonite.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

June 13, 2020 at 05:42 am

I agree with your list Nostradamus, though I'd put MVS ahead of Kumerow, just because he offers a different element, and Kumerow will likely lose his place to Funchess.
I'm really interested in seeing Begelton. Watching his highlights, he reminds me most of Antonio Freeman (but maybe with a better team attitude).

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Bear's picture

June 12, 2020 at 02:30 pm

Sorry off the subject. Other starting quarterbacks in the NFL have been throwing to the receivers on their team at different locations around the country. Has anyone heard of Rodgers throwing to his teammates?

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Johnblood27's picture

June 12, 2020 at 11:22 pm

Just under the bus, as usual... lol

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13TimeChamps's picture

June 13, 2020 at 09:37 am

Give us some examples of that please.

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Nate-1980's picture

June 19, 2020 at 12:24 pm

Off the top of my head I know Brady has been, I live close to Tampa.. Rodgers should be doing this, I have no idea why he isn’t..

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PatrickGB's picture

June 12, 2020 at 03:08 pm

I am glad that you brought up the point that receivers like MVS don’t often don’t have the stats that other receivers have. I had not thought of that. Also, I believe that once the QB loses confidence in a receiver he gets less balls thrown his way. The word that I hear a lot from coaches and players in leadership positions is “consistency”. I think that time and experience will help. I agree, it’s too late to give up MVS. Only time will tell.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 14, 2020 at 05:52 am

Yeah, there are deep-only threats like Mike Wallace who has a career 57.1% catch rate but a 15.0 yds/rec average (his 8.6 yds/target average is solidly above average). He averages 56 yds/gm, mostly in chunk plays, or about 850 yards per season. 57 TDs in 9 seasons: there's a place for guys like him.

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PatrickGB's picture

June 12, 2020 at 03:08 pm

I am glad that you brought up the point that receivers like MVS don’t often don’t have the stats that other receivers have. I had not thought of that. Also, I believe that once the QB loses confidence in a receiver he gets less balls thrown his way. The word that I hear a lot from coaches and players in leadership positions is “consistency”. I think that time and experience will help. I agree, it’s too late to give up MVS. Only time will tell.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 12, 2020 at 11:23 pm

You can say that again!

You can say that again!

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Bearmeat's picture

June 12, 2020 at 04:08 pm

MVS was not good last year, and unlike Davante, he was a 5th round pick for a reason. It's a 4 round draft, and priority free agency. In 2018, Gute didn't spend much-needed draft capital on WR, nor in 2019. So he threw numbers at the problem and hoped that one of the long shots would step up. So far, they haven't, and that's not surprising.

Our WRs suck after Davante. This is just a fact if and until one of them steps up. More likely, we're going to have to draft one or two high next year.

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flackcatcher's picture

June 12, 2020 at 04:18 pm

Cap and free agency do make that a necessary. As TGR pointed out in his most recent article, unless the league does something to grant Cap relief, the Packers are going to get killed. The CAP Man cometh. (Ugh)

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Bearmeat's picture

June 12, 2020 at 08:29 pm

Oh, I don't blame Gute for his strategy for that exact reason. You can't prioritize every position under the cap. Just a fact that we're weak at WR because of Gute's choices.

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Coldworld's picture

June 13, 2020 at 11:29 am

Which are tied with Murphy’s decision to hire LaFleur and his vision. Pretty hard to see that this isn’t giving effect to what LaFleur was hired expressly to do. Murphy explicitly said he hired LaFleur to implement his vision. That shaped the focus of subsequent drafts.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 14, 2020 at 06:02 am

I have to think if GB had hired Air Coryell then Gute would have found a WR, maybe moving a few spots for Mims.

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flackcatcher's picture

June 14, 2020 at 04:34 pm

To be polite, you are making an augment that does not exist. As GM Gute has made the final call since he was hired over Murphy's objections by the executive committee. For better or worse the burden rests solely on him. Get use to it.

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flackcatcher's picture

June 12, 2020 at 04:11 pm

MVS high ankle limited his on the field time in the second half. MLF in one of his post game pressers pointed out how serious the ankle was, and was happy that he could get MVS on field for any snaps. By the end of season MVS was good for only a handful of snaps, if that. That he could play at all was pretty impressive. As for the upcoming season? MVS is still on the roster with ESB as their only true WR with speed. I think that says what the Packers think about them...

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ricky's picture

June 12, 2020 at 04:13 pm

Remember that after his second year, Davante Adams was seen as a bust. A lot of people were calling for him to be cut. Injuries? Doesn't matter. Bust. I'm hoping for the same thing from MVS and ESB. Or even one of them. WR is a skill position, and it takes a while to learn to play at an NFL level for most WR's. Guys like Randy Moss are obvious exceptions. Let's see how this TC and even a shortened exhibition season plays out before we make any decisions.

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13TimeChamps's picture

June 12, 2020 at 08:09 pm

Can we please stop with the MVS comparisons to Jordy and Davante in regards to their potential 3rd year jumps?

Jordy...2nd round pick/36th overall. Best year in college: 122 rec/1606 yds/11 TDs (2007)
Davante...2nd round pick/53rd overall. Best year in college: 131 rec/1718 yds/24 TDs (2013)
MVS...5th round pick/174th overall. Best year in college: 53 rec/879 yds/6 TDs (2017)

You're comparing two Pro Bowl caliber receivers to a late round JAG, who will be lucky to still be in the NFL in 2 years. Just stop. He's fast, that's it. Oh yeah...and he's tall.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 12, 2020 at 11:26 pm

But...

He is OUR fast AND tall guy...

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Coldworld's picture

June 13, 2020 at 11:20 am

So it’s ridiculous to compare a 5th to two 2nds who took time to develop because the 5th has lesser stats in year one?

It’s not the comparisons to two pro bowl receivers who took time to hit their stride that needs to stop, it’s the myopic writing off of developmental players. Yes they may not pan out, but you don’t get polished 6’4” receivers with 4.3 speed in the 5th round. Taken together with a known injury, it isn’t the comparisons that look misplaced to me.

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13TimeChamps's picture

June 13, 2020 at 12:26 pm

I was comparing what they did in college, not what they did in year one of the NFL.

There's a reason why players are drafted in the 2nd round, just like there is a reason players are drafted in the 5th round.

His stats in college were very unimpressive. His stats in his first two years in the NFL are unimpressive. I just don't understand why people think he's all of a sudden going to become a legitimate NFL receiver. As a Packer fan, I hope I'm wrong. But I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he doesn't make the final 53.

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Lphill's picture

June 12, 2020 at 09:08 pm

MVS won’t make the team , he can’t catch a cold.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 12, 2020 at 11:27 pm

How about covid-19?

I hear it is easier to catch than a cold or the flu...

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Tarynfor12's picture

June 12, 2020 at 09:25 pm

MVS needs to 'write' himself back on the list by his opportunity and performance.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 12, 2020 at 11:28 pm

Wow, thats truly insightful commentary, thank goodness you chimed in!

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Bure9620's picture

June 12, 2020 at 10:24 pm

MVS was quite raw coming out. Year 3 is when he has to make it happen. I thought Equinemious had more upside but MVS can make a jump this year. I would like to see him on some short and intermediate routes. Take a slant and run after the catch.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 12, 2020 at 11:29 pm

Breaking tackles isnt his game, beating DB downfield is his game.

Dont expect great leaps in areas where the kid just does not excel, he has other attributes that may enable him to break out.

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marpag1's picture

June 13, 2020 at 04:11 am

Writing him off? Heck no.

Tempering my expectations? Hell yes.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

June 13, 2020 at 05:33 am

What my impression has been of MVS, all along, is that he has "good hands" when he is unchallenged on the catch. Unfortunately, as soon as a defender is next to him as the ball gets there, it's usually incomplete. I think that last year, maybe because of the injury, maybe because defenders caught on to his moves, he was unable to get free enough to make uncontested catches. In many ways, MVS height seems to offer no pluses; he plays "small" (but fast!). I'm not sure how you coach a more aggressive/combative catching style; by now it seems like he should have developed that, but maybe being past the injury and knowing his job is on the line, MVS will have that "power forward" mentality click.

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Duneslick's picture

June 13, 2020 at 02:48 pm

Dont expect run after catch ability. Nothing against him but he has no running instincts at all. Worst KOR I have seen in GB

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