Zay Flowers 2023 NFL Draft profile: Scout report for the Boston College WR
Zay Flowers, Boston College: 5’9”, 180 pounds.
A three-star recruit in 2019, Zay Flowers carried the ball more than he caught it as a true freshman (22 vs. 27) for just over 500 yards and four touchdowns total.
While he did still get involved on some sweep and end-around plays, he did primarily focus on doing damage through the air from year two on. He hauled in 178 passes for 2,715 yards and 27 TDs over the three ensuing seasons. Flowers earned first-team All-ACC accolades in the latter and now leaves Boston College as their all-time leader in receiving yards (3056).
Zay Flowers deserves a ton of credit for sticking with a BC program that went 3-9 and had highly inconsistent quarterback play during Flowers’ time there.
Zay Flowers scout report: Strengths
+ Shows great acceleration off the line and that extra juice to pull away from safeties when matched up with them down the post. You saw him run away from top-tier athletes like Clemson’s Andrew Booth in 2021, even if the ball wasn’t quite there for him in that matchup.
+ Ran a bunch of post routes and deep crossers, where he could run away from whoever ended up being matched up with him. Getting him matched up with a safety as #3 in trips is a recipe for failure, because of the way he can put them on their heels with a vertical stem and then hit another gear as he flattens across the field.
+ You clearly see that defensive coordinators circle this guy on the whiteboard, when you watch DBs bracket him vertically with leverage from both sides. There are so many plays where he’s used as a decoy, opening up space underneath – his conditioning/stamina must be off the charts.
+ Also has some good moments using head-nods and body leans to set up and turn around defenders as a route-technician.
+ Extremely shifty out of his stance to avoid jams in press and reduce the near-shoulder, to not be impeded in his route stem.
+ Does a great job of really pushing the corner vertically and then creating separation as he sits down to break back on the ladder (deep curls and comebacks), where he regularly makes guys overrun that point.
+ Bends off the either foot without any delay and can eat on those easy-access throws on slants or speed outs after putting his head down for a couple of steps, to get corners in back-up mode.
+ Was open constantly, but the quarterback either didn’t have enough time or could place the ball where it needed to be.
+ Shows some pretty impressive late adjustments to the ball in the air.
+ Makes a lot of challenging catches where he has to dive for low balls on comebacks and deep outs.
+ For a guy of his height, he does a great of positioning his body and attacking the ball in the air, resulting in a contested catch rate of 58.3% last year.
+ Put on 11 pounds since the end of the season and looks muscular at 183 lbs.
+ Once he catches the ball deep down the field, he can put on the breaks and make safeties look foolish if they charge in on him.
+ Can stick his foot in the ground and juke around defenders out in the flats off quick completions to turn them into long gains.
+ Yet also swipes down the arms of defenders reaching out for himself and has the strength in his lower body to bounce off hits, when he’s catching the ball on the run.
+ Doesn’t cheat you with any lack of effort as a blocker, throwing his body into defenders and finding ways to wall them off.
+ Only took part in one Shrine Bowl practice, but it just looked different to the rest of the group, gliding by and breaking a strong group of DBs.
Zay Flowers scout report: Weaknesses
– Has a tendency of wanting to beat his man quickly on the route and because of that allows defenders to re-enter the picture with the way he makes the break later down the field.
– There’s a lack of manipulation prior to and some excessive steps at the break point vs. off-coverage, trying to set up routes versus DBs who are able to stay square to him as he runs himself into contact.
– His limited catch radius does show up at times, when it looks like he’ll sky for high passes, but he is only just able to get his finger-tips on them (only 29 and ¼-inch arms).
– Had nine drops and four fumbles in 2022.
Zay Flowers scout report: Grade
Zay Flowers has some pretty insane quick-twitch to beat defenders in any direction. I truly believe he can play inside and out, win on all three levels and he has the speed to pull away from anybody before or after the ball gets into his hands.
Flowers has already flashed some highly impressive moments of leaving defenders behind in the dust as a route-runner. If he can do that more regularly, he’s going to be an extremely tough cover at the next level.
Now, with his height and arm length being in the bottom-eighth percentile, there are some limitations in terms of catch radius and ability to shield the ball with his body. But as he continues to work on his craft, defenders aren’t going to be able to put hands on him and he can strike fear in the hearts of opposing coaches (if he actually has somebody that can deliver him the ball accurately).
Grade: Top-15 overall.
You might like other 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports: Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR), Ohio; Noah Sewell (LB), Oregon; Drew Sanders (LB), Arkansas; Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA; Bijan Robinson (RB), Texas.
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