The senior all-star bowl portion of the pre-draft process is coming to a close this week with the East-West Shrine game on Thursday, February 2, and the Reese’s Senior Bowl on Saturday, February, 4.
One prospect that turned heads and dazzled analysts, scouts, and coaches in the one day of practice that he was on the field participating in was wide receiver Zay Flowers. The former Boston College standout playmaker put on quite the show in both 1-on-1 and team drills where he showcased his acceleration, strong hands, crisp route running, ability to gain separation, and both his yards after and contested catch abilities.
The Baltimore Ravens are a team entering the 2023 offseason and pre-draft process with a glaring need to upgrade at wide receiver and vowed to “build up” the position group in the coming month.
Apparently, they were so impressed by what Flowers displayed in Sunday’s practice session that the following day, multiple members of their scouting department were “connected to the hip” with him as he walked about the practice field in sweats according to reports from Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline and Matt Cannata.
“At times, it seemed the Ravens had multiple scouts escorting Flowers around the field, talking receiver technique with the Boston College product,” Pauline wrote.
Ravens Currently In Range to Land Flowers
While not every draft analyst has the former ACC star as a lock to come off the board in the first round, many believe that he possesses first-round talent and will come off the board in the top two rounds for sure.
In his Mock Draft 1.0, NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks had him going as high as No. 25 overall to the New York Giants. Yahoo Sports Charles McDonald projected him get taken one spot before the Ravens are on the clock at No. 21 overall to the Los Angeles Chargers but have them landing a nice consolation prize with their top overall pick by landing TCU star receiver Quentin Johnston at No. 22 overall.
Brooks’ colleague and former Ravens scout, Daniel Jeremiah, didn’t have Flowers going in his first mock draft but he does have him ranked inside his initial Top 50 prospects list.
“Flowers is an undersized wideout with outstanding quickness, ball skills, and production,” Jeremiah wrote. “He took the majority of his reps outside but he’s also very productive in the slot. He is extremely quick in his release and at the top of his routes. He doesn’t waste any steps or movement. He does everything full speed. He has a very good feel working in zones. He has strong hands to extend for the ball or reach back and pluck it off his back hip. He tracks the deep ball with ease. He is outstanding on jet sweeps because of his quickness and make-you-miss ability. Overall, Flowers’ only flaw is his lack of size and bulk. He reminds me of T.Y. Hilton.”
With no second-round pick this year after they sent it over as a part of the midseason trade with the Chicago Bears to acquire Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro inside linebacker Roquan Smith, the Ravens will likely only have one chance to land Flowers as it currently stands.
At No. 22 overall, they’re not guaranteed to land him either but the likelihood is much higher. There could be a run on receivers just before or right around where they’re slated to pick so trading back could come back to bite them if they miss out on a prospect at a position of need that they clearly have an interest in.
Flowers Would be a Great Fit in Baltimore
Fans and analysts are clamoring for the Ravens to swing a big trade for the likes of 5-time Pro Bowl veteran receiver DeAndre Hopkins and would be elated if they landed a 6-foot-4 big-bodied wideout in the first round like Johnston.
However, adding a dynamic weapon like Flowers who despite being slightly undersized, possesses dangerous all-purpose potential would make him an ideal fit for whatever kind of offense the team rolls out in 2023.
His ability to create big plays whenever the ball is in his hands both behind the line of scrimmage, in space, and down the field is similar to two-time Pro Bowl returner Devin Duvernay but with more elusiveness on the open field.
Duvernay suffered a broken foot and missed the Ravens’ final four games including the playoffs and the team was forced to promote Andy Isabella from the practice squad for three games down the stretch to use as a decoy on jet sweep motion.
Flowers is an explosive play waiting to happen and would provide Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson with another dynamic weapon with a diverse skill set. In a draft where there is no consensus top prospect at the receiver position, he could prove to be the best of the bunch in Baltimore and help usher in a new evolution of a more balanced offensive attack.
Other Players to Watch at the East-West Shrine game
Flowers won’t be the only prospect that the Ravens will have their eyes on and watching closely in the senior all-star event at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. There were some other standouts from the week of practice that could firmly cement themselves on the team’s radar by carrying that momentum over and translating the pro coaching they received into solid game tape.
WR Jake Bobo, UCLA
At 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, the former Bruin possesses the big-bodied frame that Ravens fans and local media have wanted to see injected into their offense for years. During practices, he showed that he could use it to his advantage, especially in the red zone. Expect to see him be given several opportunities to make contested catches down the field, over the middle, and when his offense gets into the red zone.
CB Lance Boykin, Coastal Carolina
The Ravens got one of the steals of last year’s draft by taking tight end Isaiah Likely in the fourth round and his former college teammate and fellow Chanticlear alum could be their next find if he follows up his impressive week of practice in coverage with a strong showing in the game. He was aggressive and sticky on 1-on-1 drills, blanketing receivers and making plays on the ball.
QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
The Ravens could be in the market for a new backup quarterback in the very near future whether they decide to tender soon-to-be restricted free agent and 2023 Pro Bowl alternate Tyler Huntley or not this offseason. They could look to the middle to late rounds of the draft and target the former Bruin to help find Jackson’s next primary backup or potential successor depending on what happens with his contract situation. He was quite the dangerous dual threat in college and at practices this week, he impressed talent evaluators with his accuracy and ball placement as a passer. Expect to see him showcase that talent as well as his impressive athleticism and elusiveness on scrambles in the game.