What a difference a year can make.
Heading into the 2022 NFL draft, the Seattle Seahawks had one of the most unstable quarterback situations following the trade of Russell Wilson. But this year, draft prospects are actively hoping to get the opportunity to play with Wilson’s replacement — Geno Smith.
At least that’s what Boston College’s Zay Flowers expressed when he talked about Smith in front of the media on March 3.
“I’d love to catch passes from Geno[Smith],” Flowers said. “That’s a Florida connection right there.”
Flowers, a Fort Lauderdale native, already has some experience catching passes from Smith. The veteran quarterback posted a video on social media in February of him working out with the wide receiver prospect.
Flowers explained to the media that the workout video is actually from 2020. He also conveyed how great of an opportunity it was working with Smith.
“Working out with him, I just got a feeling of how an NFL quarterback thinks and what type of balls he throws like how fast.”
Zay Flowers Compared to Former Longtime NFL Slot WR
In his first three seasons at Boston College, Flowers was a big-play threat. He averaged 16.2 yards per reception and scored 17 touchdowns in his first 36 college games.
As a senior, Flowers continued to score at a high rate while becoming more of a possession receiver. He recorded a career-high 78 catches for 1,077 yards. Flowers averaged 13.8 yards per reception while scoring 12 touchdowns in as many games during 2022.
For the NFL level, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein sees him excelling in the slot. Zierlein compared him to former NFL wideout Travis Benjamin.
“Flowers is slightly built but can side-step press and fly into action with above-average acceleration and an attacking demeanor,” Zierlein wrote. “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.”
Benjamin played nine seasons in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers and San Francisco 49ers. He recorded career-highs of 68 receptions, 966 yards and 5 touchdowns with the Browns in 2015.
How Flowers Could Fit With the Seahawks
Most of the focus around the Seahawks with the 2023 NFL draft has been on what the team will do with the No. 5 overall selection. But Seattle also holds picks No. 20 and 37 in the first and second rounds, respectively.
It’s possible that the Seahawks could land Flowers with either selection.
Flowers is widely considered a top 5 wide receiver in the 2023 class. Based on recent history, it’s a stretch Flowers could last until No. 20; six wideouts went in the top 18 last year.
But while NFL draft analysts agree he’s a top 5 receiver, they are mixed on where Flowers should be ranked overall. The Pro Football Focus experts have him rated as the No. 22 overall player in the class while The Athletic’s big board ranks Flowers at No. 41.
ESPN has him almost directly in the middle of those two projections at No. 31 overall.
Both D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark during the 2022 season. They also each had at least 84 catches and 6 touchdowns.
But although wide receiver is not the biggest need for Seattle, Flowers would be a nice addition to the Seahawks offense in the slot.
Former 2021 second-round pick Dee Eskridge has failed to make an impact in that role, as he’s recorded just 17 receptions in 20 NFL games. Veteran Marquise Goodwin was Seattle’s third-leading receiver last season with 27 catches for 387 yards.
If the Seahawks land an impactful defensive player in the top 5, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them add another weapon with one of their next two picks.
It sounds like Flowers would be pleased if it’s him.