Being approximately $20 million over the salary cap for next season, the Buffalo Bills will need to heavily rely on the 2023 NFL Draft to find new talent. While the Bills need to beef up the offensive line to better protect quarterback Josh Allen, finding a wide receiver that can back up Stefon Diggs is also a top priority.
Several top receiver prospects have had formal interviews with the Bills during the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, but ESPN Insider Jordan Reid told News 1 Buffalo host, Jon Scott, that he predicts the team will select Boston College star Zay Flowers in the first round.
Scott tweeted on Saturday, March 4, “I’ve asked @Jordan_Reid for some #Bills draft predictions the last few years we’ve met at the #NFLCombine. In 2020 he told me about a great Day 3 WR target named Gabe Davis. Last year his 1st round target was Kaiir Elam. Today — Boston College WR Zay Flowers. Lock it in!”
Flowers met with the Bills newly-hired receivers coach Adam Henry, and if Buffalo is interested the in the prospect, the love is mutual. While speaking to the media at the NFL Combine, the 22-year-old, who recorded 78 receptions for 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games last season, called the prospect of playing with top-tier talents like Allen and Diggs would be “a dream come true.”
During an appearance on “One Bills Live,” NFL Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah warned that if the Bills go with an offensive lineman in Round 1, there will be a drop off in the pool of receivers available in Round 2.
“I think you have those five solid playmakers,” Jeremiah said of the 2023 receiver class, which in addition to Flowers, includes USC standout Jordan Addison and Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba. “I think there’s a gap and then there’s a truckload of guys in the third round or later. So it’s one of those deals where I wouldn’t be all that fired up about taking one in the third round when I probably can take one in the fifth or sixth and it’s not going to be that much different.”
Flowers Was Called One of the ‘Most Electric Players in the Draft’
While Flowers’ height seems to be keeping him a lower pick in mock drafts, NFL.com‘s Daniel Jeremiah wrote that the 5-foot-10 prospect would “be a lock for the top 15 if he were two inches taller,” the receiver is still wowing analysts at the Combine.
ESPN’s Field Yates tweeted on Saturday, “Flowers posts a 4.42u in his 40 time. A rock solid time for one of the most electric players in the draft,” but his official time is expected to be even faster. WEEI‘s Khair Thompson wrote, “Flowers stepped up with a big time after Jordan Addison fell flat. 4.42u for Flowers, and it’s going to be a 4.3 in the end. Might have just made himself a mid-first-rounder.”
Analysts were also impressed by how Flowers showed up to the Combine with an added 13 pounds of muscle. The 182-pound receiver recorded a vertical jump of 35.5 and a broad jump of 10’7.
Flowers Is Predicted to Be an Excellent Slot Receiver
NFL.com‘s Lance Zierlein believes Flowers could immediately contribute a slot receiver, which the Bills could use considering Cole Beasley’s future in Buffalo is unknown and Isaiah McKenzie’s production remains unreliable.
Flowers is a “slot target who plays with unbridled energy and immense confidence,” Zierlein wrote. “Flowers is slightly built but can side-step press and fly into action with above-average acceleration and an attacking demeanor. Flowers has a tendency to rush his routes, but his ability to play with speed and move with athleticism makes him hard to read for defenders. His ball skills will shine brightly at times, but frustrating drops come with the package. Flowers has the skill set to become a valuable playmaker as a pro.”