Will Marquez Valdes-Scantling pay off for KC Chiefs?

After trading Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, the Kansas City Chiefs needed to replace him and his speed. They also lost receivers Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle to free agency. They brought in JuJu Smith-Schuster on a one-year deal and Skyy Moore in the second round of the NFL Draft. Not long after the Hill trade, they brought in ex-Green Bay deep threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling to help the Chiefs rebuild their wide receiver room.

After signing in Kansas City, Valdes-Scantling’s role has been a question for Andy Reid and the Chiefs offense. In Green Bay, he was pretty much a pure deep threat. According to Pro Football Focus ($), 44.9% of his 49 targets last season were on deep throws (20+ yards past the line of scrimmage), compared to 15.4% for Tyreek Hill ($). In 2020, 40.5% of MVS’ targets were deep.

Valdes-Scantling was presumably brought in to help replace the deep threat void that Hill left. The Chiefs will likely never replace the skillset that Hill had but they can attempt to replace it through multiple bodies. One of the past criticisms of Patrick Mahomes is that he was too reliant on his two primary weapons, Hill and Travis Kelce. Now with one of them gone, he will have to adjust.

After signing with KC in March, the Chiefs will rely upon Marquez Valdes-Scantling as a receiver that could see a lot of targets from Patrick Mahomes.

Valdes-Scantling is not an elite receiver in the NFL but he can be valuable as a pure deep threat. He recorded a PFF grade on deep targets ($) of 95.4 last season, which is considered elite, but did rank 28th out of 43 receivers with at least 15 of those targets. He also had a yards/target rate of 11.86 yards on deep routes and a reception % (percentage of targets caught) of27.3%, which ranked 26th and 39th out of 43, respectively.

In the end, I project Valdes-Scantling as a solid third option at the wide receiver position. He doesn’t have the nuanced route running of a number one receiver and is not dangerous enough after the catch on non-deep balls to cause any trouble for the defense. The Chiefs will likely go with a committee option at wide receiver. Valdes-Scantling will likely be the Chiefs’ deep threat. Smith-Schuster will likely serve as their physical option as well as their primary target on short and intermediate plays. Mecole Hardman will still be a swiss army knife who is a YAC machine and a weapon with the ball in his hands. Skyy Moore is a rookie and will likely play a depth role unless he can beat out any of the previously mentioned players.

I project that Valdes-Scantling will not hit his career high in yards (828 in 2020) due to being stuck behind Kelce and JuJu as well as the Chiefs aiming to run the ball. He could maybe hit his career high in touchdowns, which is seven if he and Mahomes develop solid chemistry. At the same time, I do not believe that he suddenly develop into a bona fide number one receiver with the Chiefs. I think we have seen his ceiling, which isn’t bad, but he likely won’t be the game-wrecker for the Chiefs that Hill used to be.

2022 Projection: 65 targets, 35 receptions, 630 yards, and 5 touchdowns.

What do you think of Marquez Valdes-Scantling? Do you think he will surpass my projection? Feel free to let me in the comment section or on Twitter (@StrozinskyLucas).