As the 2023 NFL Draft draws another week closer, I continue a series of deep dives into some of the top prospects in the draft that the Green Bay Packers could realistically select with their first couple picks.
WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
The 22-year-old Flowers, listed at 5’10, 182 lbs, is regarded as one of the top receiver prospects in a draft that looks relatively thin at the position. He fits the prototype of a deep threat – he has a smaller frame but makes up for it with blazing speed (4.42 40-yard dash). The “SparkNotes” versions of Flowers’ draft profile note his immense energy and confidence, ability to blow past defenders, questionable route running as well as occasional drops.
- Speed, agility, acceleration
- Catch adjustment
- Sideline awareness
- Yards after catch
One of the biggest compliments I can give Flowers is that he was able to produce the way he did in college despite playing with a walk-on quarterback. There are many instances on his tape where he must adjust while the ball is in the air, whether the throw was too high, too low, or underthrown. Ironically, playing with a subpar QB allowed Flowers to show off his ball skills. Though he adjusts well, Flowers’ hands are just average – not bad enough to be considered a weakness, but there are some drops on his tape, including a fumble or two on jet sweep handoffs.
Obviously, the selling point is his speed. One thing that stuck out is that Flowers doesn’t just have straight line speed. He reaches his top speed quickly and can change direction and avoid defenders without completely losing momentum. The Packers already have a deep threat in Christian Watson, but Flowers differs from Watson in the sense that Watson’s speed is much more straight line. It makes Flowers a dangerous threat in both the short and deep passing game. He makes several nice sideline, toe-tapping grabs as well.
- Route running
I think the biggest flaw in Flowers’ game is his route running. Luckily, his speed can grant him separation from defenders regardless, in some situations. Still, he runs some of his routes lazily and sometimes seems to improvise. For someone this fast, he doesn’t separate as much as you might expect.
His size isn’t a major issue, but it does mean that press coverage from bigger defenders can stall him. Flowers was stonewalled by Defensive Rookie of the Year Sauce Gardner in a college matchup. He can be knocked off his route and pushed around in the run game.
I find myself not having much to say about Flowers. The only attribute that truly sticks out as special on film is his speed. Exceptional speed is a very valuable attribute in a wide receiver, no doubt. But Flowers is not a generational talent in this regard – his abilities aren’t anything the NFL hasn’t seen many times before. He’s a weapon that the smartest offensive minds in the NFL could find good use for, and he certainly can improve his route running through coaching and practice.
Of course, Flowers is not at his ceiling. There’s a lot of potential there. He doesn’t put anything awful on tape, but also not much that screams must-have first-round pick. I can’t help but feel that Flowers might go down the route of someone like Marquise Brown, another former first-round pick drafted for his speed that serves as a decent number two or number three option. I don’t think Flowers brings much to the table that the Packers would feel they don’t already have in someone like Watson. I certainly believe there are better picks the Packers could make should they stay at the 15th overall pick. I’m largely feeling indifferent on Flowers.