Marquez Valdes-Scantling knows that as the Green Bay Packers prepare for the upcoming 2020 NFL season in the middle of a very strange offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a ton of questions surrounding the franchise. After making a run to the NFC Championship Game last season and finishing the regular season with a 13-3 record, most teams would be viewed as a serious Super Bowl contender the following season. That is not the case for most with the Packers.
Even after the massive success that the Packers had in 2019, many thought they were overrated and didn’t belong as the No. 2 seed in the NFC. There are quite a few that believe they will take a major step back in 2020 and won’t even win the NFC North.
Despite the lack of confidence from the media, the Packers are feeling very confident. They feel that they will be right back in the mix when the playoffs come around this season.
Leading the charge for the negative thoughts about the Packers is the fact that they didn’t have a big offseason. Most teams go all-in when they are as close to a Super Bowl as Green Bay was last year. Instead, general manager Brian Gutekunst chose to simply replace free agents who left and also put together a very strange draft.
Coming into the offseason, the common thought was that the Packers would focus on improving the wide receiver position and focusing on inside linebacker and retaining Bryan Bulaga. When everything was said and done, the Packers signed Christian Kirksey to replace Blake Martinez at inside linebacker, added Devin Funchess at wide receiver, and lost Bryan Bulaga to the Los Angeles Chargers.
In the 2020 NFL Draft, most fans were expecting the Packers to target a wide receiver, offensive lineman, or linebacker in the first round. Gutekunst made the decision to trade up four slots in the draft to take Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. Now, the Packers are left with questions, especially at the wide receiver position.
Davante Adams is one of the best receivers in the game, there is no question about that. Behind him, however, are a ton of question marks. Funchess could become a playmaker for Aaron Rodgers, Allen Lazard had a good year, but Marquez Valdes-Scantling did not take the leap forward that the Packers were expecting.
Looking ahead to the 2020 NFL season, the Packers are leaning on Valdes-Scantling to end up being their main X-Factor.
Standing in at 6-foot-4 and a shade over 205 pounds, Valdes-Scantling has the size to be an absolute monster. He also possesses top-notch speed and athleticism. MVS also has a great pair of hands and the potential to be a great playmaker.
However, last season, Valdes-Scantling only ended up catching 26 passes for 452 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers aren’t going to get the job done, but many believe his big leap will come in 2020.
With that being said, why is Valdes-Scantling the biggest X-Factor for the Packers this season?
Quite simply, they need a legitimate No. 2 wideout for Rodgers. While the Packers’ superstar quarterback is still among the NFL’s elite, he needs more help. Adams can’t do all the damage by himself and neither Lazard or Funchess are the ideal No. 2 targets.
Valdes-Scantling is the one player currently on the roster that has star potential. Green Bay is banking on him following in the footsteps of Adams, who didn’t have his huge breakout season until his third year. And there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the 25-year-old receiver.
Rodgers has always had nothing but good things to say about Valdes-Scantling. He has always believed that the young wideout would turn into something special. With another full offseason of work and the goal of becoming a consistent starter, Valdes-Scantling most certainly has breakout potential in 2020.
If he does take the leap that the Packers are hoping for, he will become the second wide receiver on the depth chart and his numbers will skyrocket through the roof. Green Bay will also become a much more serious championship contender.
Only time will tell if Valdes-Scantling is ready for that task, but he certainly has the talent to do so. The unknowns leave questions for the Packers to answer, but if there is one thing that is clear, it is the fact that Valdes-Scantling is Green Bay’s biggest X-Factor for the upcoming season.