The New York Giants got better play from their no-name receiving corps in 2022 than many would have thought possible. But thanks to injury and free agency, they might be in the position of having to almost completely rebuild that unit from scratch this off-season.
Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers likely isn’t the “number one” receiver that many are envisioning for the Giants. However, he is a very athletic, versatile, and dangerous player who would be a definite upgrade for the unit.
Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll showed a willingness to venture from the beaten path and deviate from received wisdom in 2022. Could they do so again and double down at receiver with a player like Flowers?
Games Played: 48
Yards (YPC): 3,056 (15.3 per catch)
Yards (YPC): 345 (6.1 per carry)
Total Touchdowns: 31 (29 receiving, 2 rushing)
Games Played: 12
Yards (YPC): 1,077 (13.8 per catch)
Yards (YPC): 40 (3.3 per carry)
Total Touchdowns: 12
Best: Quickness, agility, speed, body control, versatility, competitive toughness
Worst: Size, catch consistency
Projection: A starting slot receiver with additional versatility
Flowers is an undersized but very experienced and dynamic receiving prospect from Boston College.
Flowers has played in 48 games over four years for Boston College, with 12 starts in 2022. He has been consistently productive for the Eagles’ offense and has proven surprisingly versatile. Flowers typically plays out of the slot, but he has also lined up as a wide receiver, in bunch formations (both on and off the line of scrimmage), and is put in motion before the snap.
Flowers has impressive quickness off the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball. He is capable of exploding into his route when lined up off the line of scrimmage or against off coverage. He uses quick footwork and agility to force hesitation in corners who line up in tight man coverage. Flowers is a dynamic athlete who puts his athletic abilities to use in his route running. He’s probably best described as a good collegiate route runner, but isn’t yet a true technician. Flowers shows an understanding of how to use his routes to create separation, varying his route tempo and stride length to throw off defenders’ timing. He makes good use of his naturally low center of gravity to break sharply at the top of his routes, sticking a foot in the ground and carrying his speed through breaks. Flowers’ quick stride tempo allows him to change speed easily throughout the route and explode out of his breaks.
Flowers has good ball skills down the field. He does a good job of locating and tracking the ball in the air, and adjusting his route to track down the ball. He also shows very impressive body control at the catch point, contorting his body to maximize his catch radius and haul in passes that would otherwise fall incomplete.
He is also a fiery competitor with great competitive toughness in all areas of his game. Flowers is a dangerous ball carrier with solid vision and the athleticism to make him very difficult to bring down in space. He is also a willing and surprisingly stout blocker for his teammates. Flowers attacks defenders when blocking and even attempts to maul, despite his lack of size.
That lack of size is Flowers’ greatest weakness. At 5-foot-9, with 29-inch arms, he has an inherently limited catch radius and will need accurate quarterback play at the NFL level. He has good thickness for his height at 182 pounds, but his lack of mass can show up at the catch point and as a blocker. Likewise, while he has solid contact balance, Flowers struggles to survive contact in traffic.
Flowers also shows some inconsistencies as a pass catcher. He is a “hands” catcher, but can occasionally double-catch or suffer concentration drops. Part of this is due to inconsistent play from Boston College’s quarterback, but there are other instances where Flowers appears to get ahead of himself and start his run-after-catch before he finishes the catch.
Overall Grade: 8.0
Flowers projects as a starting slot receiver early in his career.
He has the versatility to line up in multiple positions, and a creative offensive mind can take advantage of that. However, his size will likely force NFL offensive coordinators to play him out of the slot, in bunch formations, or stacked behind a bigger receiver. Flowers is a quick, twitchy athlete and can be a weapon in any offense that schemes the ball to athletes in space. He’s dangerous as a ball carrier on screen plays, on jet sweeps, or on route concepts that create space in the intermediate area of the field.
Flowers needs to continue to hone his craft as a receiver, though more consistent play around him will certainly help in that regard. He has the tools to be a truly dangerous receiver once he becomes a technician and chess player as a route runner. Thanks to his position and athletic ability, teams will likely look to Flowers in high-leverage situations. He will need to be a more consistent catcher of the ball to earn his teams’ trust. He isn’t a bad catcher by any means, but drops or double-catches in important situations early on could see the offense look elsewhere.
There isn’t anything Flowers can do about his size, and he will almost certainly come in under some teams’ thresholds for the position. That will likely knock him down the draft board, despite his athletic ability and versatility. However, teams that are willing to look past Flowers’ size and emphasize what he can do could be rewarded with a great value later in the second day of the draft.