Zay Flowers Draft Profile
The most fun part about getting a new car is what you can do with it in an empty parking lot. While I am not encouraging anyone to drive recklessly; all I am saying is that when nobody is nearby you can test the limits. When looking at his acceleration, top speed, and the ability to change directions, Boston College wide receiver, Zay Flowers, is a lot like that new car. Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Flowers is from a region of the world that breeds all-pro caliber receivers. Fort Lauderdale is the part of South Beach that is between Pompano Beach and Hollywood; it is a gold mine for NFL talent and skill position players. At Boston College, Flowers lined up everywhere; inside, outside, in the backfield, and as a return man on special teams. He was a Swiss-army knife in college, and I don’t anticipate that changing in the NFL; however, I believe he will primarily be featured in the slot. With that new car, you can test things out; you can push the limits; the same can be said when Zay Flowers is on your team.
When watching Flowers, the first thing that stood out was his “swivel”. His ability to contort his hips and change direction throughout the route progression and when the ball is in his hands. There is no better way to describe Flowers than as a weapon; he is capable of doing anything a coach asks of him. There is a natural bravado to his game, everything looks extremely smooth. He has what I call “humming bird feet”; the combination of light feet and hip mobility is why he looks so natural turning the corner. For a slot receiver, intelligence is extremely important; knowing who to block, what zone to settle into, how to gain leverage, what angle to take; that is all pivotal to being a successful slot receiver. Flowers possesses the minutiae of the postion to play in the slot at a high level in the NFL. Whether it is an angle he takes after the catch to give a defender bad positioning, getting upfield when a play is dead, or getting a certain amount of depth on his route; Flowers is both talented and savvy. There is also a certain amount of toughness required to play the position; whether it his him running through tackles with the ball in his hands or pancaking a defender twice his size, Flowers has that “dog” in him. As a pure route-runner, I feel like I would get dizzy trying to keep up with Flowers. He has that rare combination of speed and quickness that allows him to be both a threat vertically and laterally. There is a certain amount of relaxation to his game when the ball is in the air; the moment doesn’t get too big for him which allows him to have complete control over his body. His ability to contort his body and position himself to make difficult catches is extremely impressive. The combination of talent, toughness, and swagger that Flowers brings to the game is going to allow him to be an impact player from day one in the NFL.
There are certain things that are unquestionable when watching Flowers play; his speed, talent, and confidence. Those are the first things that most coaches look for in an NFL player; however, my biggest concerns have more to do with his mental makeup rather than his physical abilities. One thing that I love about Flowers is that he is a competitor, but there were multiple occasions where I saw terrible body language on film. You want someone who elevates the team, not drags it down. There were also quite a few laziness drops where Flowers lets the ball get into his chest rather than him plucking it with his hands. His hands are natural, but laziness prevents him from having zero-drop days. The good news is that both of these “problems” are coachable. My only other non-knit picky concerns have to do with his slighter stature, but he’s been this size his entire life and things have worked out for him thus far. If he is able to get over these character concerns and stay healthy, Flowers has the chance to be a really special slot receiver in the NFL.
It is no secret that this is one of the weaker receiver drafts in recent memory. As of now, Zay Flowers is my only receiver with a first round grade, and I believe he can be really special with a creative offensive coordinator. For teams like the Ravens and Patriots, Flowers can come in from day one and be the team’s leading receiver. The Patriots have history of success at the slot receiver position, and I believe Flowers is capable of being the heir to Edelman’s throne. The Titans are another team that just needs to add weapons; the combination of Flowers on the inside and Burks on the outside gives that offense a really promising, young nucleus. My excitement for Flowers resembles the excitement I had for Curtis Samuel coming out of Ohio State. While he isn’t as well built as Samuel, I believe Flowers is a better route runner than Samuel was coming out. I foresee Flowers being a mid to late first round pick, and an instant impact player as soon as he gets to the league.
Short-Area Quickness: 9/10
Hands + Catch Radius: 8.25/10
Route Running: 8.75/10
Toughness + Strength: 8/10
Separation Skills: 6.75/8
Body Control + Movement Skills: 7/8
After the Catch: 5.25/6
Competitiveness + Intelligence + Effort: 5/6
Final Rating: 86
Pro Comparison: A slighter, better route-running Curtis Samuel
Team Fits: Patriots, Eagles, Ravens
Draft Projection: Pick 20-32
Draft Grade: Pick 20-32