One of the NFL’s next great receiving stars might be a 2018 fifth-round draft pick you may not have heard of. His name is Marquez Valdes-Scantling of the Green Bay Packers. While he’s had a quiet but decent start to his career so far, he’s shown moments of brilliance as well. He’s actually shown enough brilliance that one Hall of Famer has remarked that Valdes-Scantling reminds him of himself.
The Hall of Fame player who Marquez Valdes-Scantling reminds of himself
Valdes-Scantling is 6-foot-4, 205 pounds. He’s lanky, but he doesn’t lumber down the field. He ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, showing off his incredible speed. He also approaches the game with an effortlessness, at times appearing as though he’s playing the game on “easy” mode while opposing defenders have it set to “hard.”
Remind you of anyone? In the case of former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss, it certainly does. ESPN interviewed Moss recently about the similarities and relationship between the two. Even Moss couldn’t deny that they have a lot in common:
“As far as his size and the structure of his body, the way he looks, for sure,” Moss said. “And the way he makes things look easy. When I first met him, I could tell how talented he was and how he made things look easy,” Moss said. “But I told him that he needed some work.”
Marquez Valdes-Scantling isn’t quite the breakout star Randy Moss was, though. Almost immediately upon entering the league, Moss dominated at the wide receiver position. He showed the multiple teams that passed on drafting him what a massive error in judgment they’d made. Valdes-Scantling, in his second season, hasn’t been quite as overwhelming. He’s had flashes where he shows Moss-like playmaking ability but hasn’t done it as consistently as the Hall of Famer.
Valdes-Scantling now counts Moss as a mentor. Here’s how they came together.
The offseason work Valdez-Scantling and Moss did together
According to the ESPN piece, Moss and Valdes-Scantling met before last season, spending a week together. That relationship blossomed into a more in-depth protege-mentor setup:
“It’s a mentor-protégé relationship that is two years in the making and has its roots in Tampa, Florida. Valdes-Scantling is from the neighboring city of St. Petersburg and played in college at South Florida. He trains at the Applied Science and Performance Institute (ASPI) in Tampa, where he first met Moss before the 2018 season. … With the help of former NFL receiver Yo Murphy, who played with Moss in Minnesota and serves as ASPI’s director of sports performance, Valdes-Scantling spent most of this past summer before training camp with Moss.”
Any wide receiver would be lucky to have Moss as a teacher, but for Valdes-Scantling, it’s especially useful. He has the same body type and skill set as Moss, meaning he’ll certainly be able to use the insight the Hall of Famer can give him.
How has his play improved this season?
Marques Valdez-Scantling’s 2019 season so far
Through seven games in 2019, Valdez-Scantling has 21 receptions for 416 yards with two touchdowns. His breakout performance may have come against the Oakland Raiders on October 20. While he didn’t have many catches, he made the most out of the ones he did have. Valdes-Scantling pulled in two receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown. He also threw in a rushing touchdown for good measure.
Valdes-Scantling is still in the early stages of a burgeoning NFL career. But his work with Moss – coupled with the fact that he’s playing alongside one of the great quarterbacks of all time, Aaron Rodgers – means he has a bright future ahead of him. Expect big things from Valdes-Scantling, both this year and in the coming seasons.