Since being drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 draft by the Green Bay Packers, new Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling has career-highs of 38 catches (2018), 690 receiving yards (2020), and 6 receiving touchdowns (2020), per Pro Football Reference.
Those aren’t numbers that scream “WR1.” But as MVS will tell you: he had a very particular role in the Packers’ offense. One that, many people other than him would say, was limited.
“Not necessarily saying I was limited in Green Bay but we had specific roles,” Valdes-Scantling said after organized team activities (OTAs) on June 9. “When I was there we were a pretty good offense for my four years so it worked and we won a lot of football games. So you can’t really complain. We were winning.”
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Over the course of his four seasons in Green Bay, Valdes-Scantling averaged 17.5 yards per reception. To put that into perspective: last season, that average would have ranked fourth overall among players that averaged at least 1.8 catches per game, according to StatMuse.
That shows how MVS was used primarily as a deep target for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. However, the specific role for Valdes-Scantling, who signed a three-year, $30 million deal with Kansas City this offseason, doesn’t mean his skill set is limited.
“Marquez can do a lot of different things,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said of MVS back in April. “He’s got good start-stop abilities. He’s a big target. He can run your slant games. He can run your deep throws. He can run the intermediate routes.
“He’s got a good feel in space, so he gives us some flexibility in there. He’s able to work some of the primary underneath routes. He maybe didn’t do as much in Green Bay because of who they had there, so I’ve been pleased with how he goes about it.”
Despite changing teams, MVS will still get to catch footballs from a generational quarterback during his time in Kansas City. Bundle that with a head coach that is already trying to use him in different ways on the field to get him the football, and the sky is the limit for what MVS, 27, can do moving forward.
“I’ve been a top deep threat in the four years of my career, Valdes-Scantling said. “Obviously, those stats speak for themselves. But also I’m not limited to just that. Coach Reid does a really good job of getting his playmakers the ball.”
MVS, Mahomes Showed Strong Chemistry During Offseason
It’s easy to overreact to some of the things happening during OTAs. Players aren’t wearing full pads and practices are typically advantageous to the offensive players, which makes for many highlight-worthy plays on the field. But when a player consistently stands out at those practices, it’s still worth noting.
This is the case for Valdes-Scantling, who stood out during the first week of OTAs and has continued to do so due to his already-strong connection with Mahomes.
“I’ve been raving, and I will continue to rave: No new #Chiefs pass-catcher looks more comfortable with Mahomes than WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling,” wrote Pete Sweeney of Arrowhead Pride on June 9 after Kansas City’s last set of OTAs. “The new QB-WR duo is so in sync. MVS is as smooth a receiver as I remember. The two combined for Thursday’s play of the day.”
Sweeney provided further details about how Valdes-Scantling stood out during the last day of voluntary practice.
“In team, [Patrick] Mahomes looked to his right and threw a no-look pass across his body to his left to Valdes-Scantling, who caught the ball with his single left hand along the left sideline,” Sweeney wrote. “MVS joked after that he is used to no-look passes from his time with Aaron Rodgers (2018-21).”
MVS’s Work With Mahomes During Offseason Paying Off
During the earlier part of the offseason, Mahomes met with some of his pass-catchers down in Texas to build chemistry with each of them prior to the entire Chiefs squad meeting for OTAs and minicamp. That time together has seemingly paid off, as players like Valdes-Scantling have hit the ground running during their first offseason in Kansas City.
“It wasn’t even a month before he was already dialed into the playbook and understanding what was going on,” Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire said on June 9 of Valdes-Scantling.
It typically takes many reps during the season before a new QB-WR duo forms a strong connection. But if the offseason program is any indication of where MVS and Mahomes are in their chemistry-building process, then they will hit the ground running come the 2022 regular season.