When NBC Sports’ Peter King heaps praise on a player, people take notice.
After attending six NFL training camps early in the preseason, King, one of the most respected NFL columnists, called attention to a Baltimore Ravens rookie.
“The most impressive rookie I have seen in six camps is Zay Flowers,” King said Wednesday, August 3, in his Training Camp Tour 2023 video series on YouTube. “He lines up across from a corner and unless they literally interfere with him or hold him, he has tremendous separation on almost every cut. His quickness, his speed out of cuts is going to be a thing to watch in the NFL this year.”
In the early days of camp, quarterback Lamar Jackson nicknamed him “Joystick” for his ability to quickly change directions. Flowers could be this year’s Isaiah Likely, a 2022 rookie tight end who impressed in the preseason to the point where he earned the right to sit out the the Ravens’ final exhibition game.
Flowers Dazzles in Training Camp With ‘Dominant’ Performance: Report
Flowers was the star of the show on August 1, the first day of highly anticipated one-on-one drills
According to reports from multiple writers, including Baltimore Beatdown’s Kyle Barber, the rookie wideout dominated the Ravens’ cornerbacks.
“His first rep was a diving grab up against cornerback Rock Ya-Sin on a streak route,” Barber wrote. “His next lineup was against defensive back Daryl Worley, who was shaken on the out route and a step behind ‘Joystick.’ The final rep was arguably the best of any receiver on the day as Flowers’ shiftiness and speed had undrafted rookie cornerback Corey Mayfield Jr. stumble to the turf as Flowers was alone in the open field,” Barber wrote.
Flowers’ impressive day didn’t stop there. After missing two consecutive days with a minor illness, he returned for seven-on-seven team drills, making an incredible leaping touchdown catch between safeties Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams in the back right corner of the end zone.
Flowers’ dominance in one-on-one situations seems to validate King’s claims of the rookie’s dynamism.
Veteran Receiver Continues to Look Impressive
Wide receiver Nelson Agholor, an eight-year veteran, had a nice day on July 31. Those covering the team have praised his consistence and pass-catching skills, even as he’s overshadowed by Flowers and star receiver Odell Beckham Jr., whom the Ravens signed in the offseason.
That trend continued when he made a highlight-reel catch against defensive back Brandon Stephens for a red-zone touchdown.
Agholor was asked by Barber during a post-practice press conference whether he believed that he could carve out a role for himself as a red zone target for an offense that struggled mightily to capitalize in that area of the field last season.
“My job and my focus is if my number’s called and I get an opportunity to take advantage of them,” Agholor said. “And that’s important. That’s all I can say. It’s important to take advantage of the opportunities cause the quarterback gives you opportunities, he trusts you and you want to keep his trust.”
Head coach John Harbaugh commended him on his consistency in practice and said he was glad that the team was able to add a seasoned pass catcher.
“He’s a pro. Nelson knows how to play,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a big rangy receiver like you saw there when he made that catch. He runs routes really well, he’s a hard worker, he knows what he’s doing, and I’m sure glad we have him.”