Packers' Matt LaFleur: Marquez Valdes-Scantling Has to 'Take That Next Step'May 12, 2020
The pressure is on Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
"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," Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said, according to Packers Wire's Zach Kruse.
Green Bay chose not to select a wide receiver in the 2020 NFL draft, but did use their nine picks to take three skill position players in quarterback Jordan Love (No. 26 overall), running back A.J. Dillon (No. 62 overall) and tight end Josiah Deguara (No. 94 overall).
Despite having two-time NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers' passing attack ranked 17th in the league last season. Davante Adams, who missed four games with turf toe, finished as the team's leading receiver with 997 yards and five touchdowns on 83 catches.
Scantling contributed 452 yards and two touchdowns on 26 receptions across 16 games (10 starts), though the 25-year-old recorded 416 of those yards and both touchdowns by Week 7.
Scantling had struggled with ankle and knee injuries leading up to that Week 7 matchup with the then-Oakland Raiders, but he was able to notch a career-high 133 yards in a 42-24 win. However, from then on—including Green Bay's 28-23 Divisional Round win over Seattle, Scantling had just 44 yards and no touchdowns on six catches.
The Packers will want to see the Week 7 version of Scantling on a more consistent basis in 2020, especially with Green Bay surprisingly opting not to bolster the wide receiving corps through the draft.
The team signed 25-year-old receiver Devin Funchess to a one-year deal while losing 26-year-old wideout Geronimo Allison in free agency. Veteran tight end Jimmy Graham also departed Green Bay to sign with the Chicago Bears.
Adams will more than likely still be Rodgers' No. 1 target next season, but after that, the passing attack is ambiguous. There will be no better time for Scantling to step up.
Scantling was a fifth-round selection in the 2018 NFL draft. As a rookie, the North Carolina State and South Florida product tallied 581 yards and two touchdowns while catching 38 of his 73 targets in 16 games (10 starts).