Rookie receivers aren’t supposed to be this good. Not this fast. Not in Green Bay.
Packers receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling is shattering expectations and re-writing the operating manual for rookies playing with Aaron Rodgers.
Others working alongside MVS in the Packers’ receiver room can tell he’s different.
“I didn’t do what he’s doing my rookie year,” veteran Randall Cobb said, via Ryan Wood of PackersNews.com. “He’s definitely got something special about him.”
Despite rarely playing in the Packers’ first three games, Valdes-Scantling is on pace to become the most productive rookie receiver to ever play with Rodgers. He has 17 catches for 358 yards and two touchdowns at the halfway point of the 2018 season. Cobb finished his rookie season with 375 receiving yards.
Valdes-Scantling is no fluke, and he’s almost certain to receive a full helping of opportunities the rest of the way, especially with Geronimo Allison now on injured reserve.
In fact, the Packers have operated each of the last two games with Valdes-Scantling as the offense’s No. 2 receiver, even as Cobb returned from injury.
It’s one thing to earn opportunities. It’s quite another to consistently make the most of them.
In just the last three games, Valdes-Scantling has 249 receiving yards on just eight catches. He’s averaging the length of three first downs every time he makes a catch.
Rodgers says Valdes-Scantling plays “really fast.” Davante Adams said it looks “really easy” for the rookie.
These aren’t common phrases for a first-year player who is not only learning how to play every receiver position in the Packers offense but also learning how to run the entire route tree and earn the trust of Rodgers, a notoriously hard quarterback to win over.
Valdes-Scantling has made it easy on Rodgers. How could he not trust a 6-4 speedster who is laser-focused on getting better, developing on the fly every week and quickly emerging as a big-play machine?
Valdes-Scantling has seven catches over 20 yards and three over 40 yards, plus two games with over 100 yards receiving. He’s on pace for over 700 receiving yards, a number unreached by a Packers rookie receiver since Sterling Sharpe in 1988.
A number of talented rookie receivers have filtered through Green Bay since then, including Cobb. It generally takes time for it all to click. Most need a year or more. Cobb didn’t blow up until his second season. Adams broke out during his third.
MVS needed three games. Yeah, he might be special.