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NFL Week 9: Did the Green Bay Packers find the playmaker they need on Thursday night?

Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers
Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers
Amaar Burton
ANALYST
Modified 06 Nov 2020, 12:22 IST
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When the Green Bay Packers didn't use any of their 2020 NFL Draft picks on a wide receiver -- viewed as arguably their biggest need -- and again failed to acquire a wide receiver before Tuesday's NFL trade deadline, the team was soundly criticized.

The Green Bay Packers have one of the league's best receivers in three-time Pro Bowler Davante Adams. They also have one of the league's best running backs in Aaron Jones, who led the NFL in total touchdowns last season.

It's not like quarterback Aaron Rodgers is devoid of playmakers, but in today's NFL you need more than a couple to keep up, especially when the league's current standard-bearers are the explosive defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Rodgers is 36 years old. The future Hall of Famer is still playing at an MVP-caliber level, but he's running out of time in his prime. For the Packers to pass on two golden opportunities to get him a solid No. 2 receiver was a double fail.

But maybe the Green Bay Packers have had that standout second receiver on their roster this whole time.

NFL Week 9: Valdes-Scantling steps up for the Green Bay Packers

In Thursday's 34-17 win over the injury-riddled San Francisco 49ers, the Green Bay Packers got a big performance from Marquez Valdez-Scantling. The third-year receiver only had two catches, but both of them went for touchdowns: a 52-yard score in the second quarter, and a 1-yard TD catch in the third quarter.

With two touchdowns on Thursday, the South Florida product surpassed his previous career-high for a season. He now has three TD's this season after finding the end zone two times in each of his first two pro seasons.

Going into Thursday's game, Valdes-Scantling was the Green Bay Packers' second-leading receiver among wide receivers, but he was the team's fifth-leading receiver overall. Adams was far and away the leader in that category with 43 catches -- and then there was running back Jamaal Williams, tight end Robert Tonyan and Jones -- and then Valdes-Scantling with 16 receptions.

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While he only added two receptions to that tally in Week 9, Valdez-Scantling showed the home-run ability and the ability to get open in a tight space and catch Rodgers' attention.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 206 pounds, Valdes-Scantling is big for the position in terms of height -- he's just as tall as Seattle Seahawks star D.K. Metcalf -- but he's slight in frame.

If he's durable and stays healthy enough to be a consistent producer, he could be the exact kind of playmaker the Green Bay Packers have been looking for, hiding in plain sight all along.

Published 06 Nov 2020, 12:22 IST
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