There are a lot of questions surrounding Ereck Flowers right now.
Can the first-round draft pick help the sputtering New York Giants offensive line? Can he be a starter on Eli’s blindside? Can he move his feet fast enough?
Flowers doesn’t have all the answers. Neither do the Giants. Yet. But that’s what training camp is for. That’s what the preseason for and by the time New York opens its season at Dallas on September 13, the team is fully expecting answers to all those questions and more. They’re expecting Flowers to block. That is, after all, why they drafted him. Here’s what you need to know about the Miami product with a mean streak that might actually be as big as he is. :
1. Flowers is Fighting for a Starting Spot at Left Tackle
Just months after he was officially selected by the New York Giants in the NFL Draft, Flowers has already been thrust into a spotlight neither he nor the team were entirely suspecting.
Flowers played left tackle in college but was drafted under the assumption that he would have some time to work on his game before becoming a major player at the pro-level. Then Will Beatty happened. The long-time Giants o-lineman tore his pectoral muscle lifting weights during the offseason and Flowers, quite suddenly, was thrust into a position as a potential starter on the line. Now, the first-round draft pick is fighting for time on the line and the Giants need him to be a quick learn.
While it may have been an unexpected move, Flowers told The NY Daily News he’s confident and ready for the challenge:
I really feel I’ve got a high ceiling. I’m trying to reach it. We’ve got a lot of great guys (on the line). We’ve got a lot of hard-working guys. They’re helping me come along. I’ve got faith in them. And I’m pretty sure they’ve got faith in me.
2. He Played College Football at Miami
Although he didn’t start playing football until he was a junior in high school, Flowers, who was previously a basketball standout, found his rhythm on the offensive line and was a four-star recruit heading into Miami.
While at college, Flowers built up a reputation as an aggressive force in the trenches, earning a spot in the starting lineup as a sophomore. He assumed a role as a leader on the Hurricanes’ offense and quickly began to set the tone of the offensive line. Hurricanes offensive line coach Art Kehoe told The Sun-Sentinel in 2014:
I think Jon (Feliciano) and Ereck (Flowers) have been working hard on their relationships with the other guys. So much of it is communication and being on the same page. Those guys are doing a great job. They’re smart, but tough. They work hard, and they’re gifted. They have the experience and they’re using it.
On December 29, 2014 Flowers announced that he would forgo his senior season and opted to enter the 2015 NFL Draft. He was selected ninth overall by the New York Giants.
3. Flowers Acted as His Own Agent to Negotiate His Rookie Contract
Not many people expected this. Flowers negotiated his own rookie deal, acting as his own agent, agreeing to a four-year, $14.4 million contract with the New York Giants this June. According to reports, Flowers saved nearly $432,000 by representing himself.
He released a statement via the team after the signing:
It was great. (I) talked to them. Got a great deal done. Everything went good. It was smooth. I made a lot of progress. I have a better understanding of the plays. I got a lot more comfortable out there. Everything was a success.
4. He’s Been Criticized For His Footwork on the Line
Flowers is big. He’s mean and competitive and he can knock down a defensive lineman with relative ease.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things for him to work on, specifically footwork things. According to his NFL Draft report, Flowers needs some serious footwork improvement and the report claims he “gets sloppy and undisciplined, causing base to narrow.”
That’s a little concerning for a New York team that is priming Flowers to take over at the starting left tackle spot, otherwise known as Eli Manning’s blindside. The Giants have plenty of offensive weapons, particularly in the passing game, but those weapons won’t be able to even consider catching the ball unless Manning has a few seconds to throw it. That’s why they need Flowers feet to be constantly moving.
5. Flowers Grew Up With His Father After His Mother Passed Away From Cancer
Flowers is incredibly close to his father, Everald, who was just 28 when Ereck’s mother died of cancer. Everald is a former football player as well, playing linebacker at Division II Washburn in Kansas, and helped his son tone his gridirion skills when he began playing during his junior year of high school.
During his post-draft press tour, Flowers was consistently joined by his father, keeping a watchful eye on his son who had suddenly been thrust into the media circus that is the NFL. Giants coach Tom Coughlin described the scene, telling ESPN:
He is very, very close with his dad. His dad is with him all the time. At his workout, his dad was there. I think that’s a very strong relationship and I think it points to a very solid young man.
Everald helped Flowers work out ahead of his college career at Miami and was in the stands during every single one of his games. He helped Flowers “get angry” and while some of that anger translated into off-the-field moments, including flipping an obscene gesture to a Nebraska fan during a post-game, it was that trait that first got the Giants to come calling.
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