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Packers CB Carrington Valentine stands out during ‘outstanding’ offseason ahead of Year 2

Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur is seeing incredible growth — both physically and as a player — from cornerback Carrington Valentine in Year 2.

Asked about Valentine’s work during the offseason, LaFleur piled on the praise for a young player who did everything the team asked to get physically ready for 2024.

“I think it’s been outstanding,” LaFleur said Tuesday. “That’s a guy that stands out, quite frankly, in my mind, in terms of, we challenged him to put on some weight after the regular season. He came back, and he definitely looks bigger, and is bigger. He’s stronger. He loves football, loves to compete. I’m excited for him. I think he has a really bright future.”

Valentine, a seventh-round pick in 2023 who is listed at only 189 pounds, needed to add play strength as a second-year player, especially in a new defense that will ask for more physicality at the line of scrimmage. He went to work during the offseason and checked that box.

“Physically, he’s night and day,” LaFleur said. “In terms of all the little fundamentals, obviously there’s some different things we’re asking these guys to do from a defensive perspective and I think he’s approached it the right way. The one thing you can count on with him, is when he goes out there to compete, he’s going to give it his all. When you approach it that way, you make huge jumps, huge improvements. He’s really pushing the guys in front of him. It’s exciting because we have a lot of different guys at the cornerback position to go in and play ball for us.”

Despite being a seventh-round pick, Valentine ended up not only making the 53-man roster but also starting 12 games as a rookie in 2023. He produced 44 tackles and a fumble recovery while leading the team with nine pass breakups. Valentine played 695 snaps, or over 60 percent of the defense’s total overall.

According to Pro Football Focus, Valentine allowed 35 catches on 61 targets for 420 yards and one touchdown while committing only two penalties. His passer rating against was only 84.1.

The Packers return Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes and slot cornerback Keisean Nixon, clouding the path for Carrington to a starter’s job. But both Alexander and Stokes dealt with significant injury issues in 2023, and Valentine is almost certainly the next man up at cornerback. While Stokes might be the favorite to start on the perimeter opposite Alexander, it’s certainly possible Valentine will push for that spot come training camp.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire