The post-2023 NFL Scouting Combine mock drafts from heavy hitters among draft analysts are beginning to appear. Todd McShay of ESPN is one of those heavy hitters, and in his first post-combine mock draft [Insider only] McShay has given the Giants diminutive Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers with the 25th pick.
It sounds like Daniel Jones will be back in New York, but who will he be throwing to in 2023 and beyond? The disappointing Kenny Golladay era is over, and Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard and Richie James are free agents. Wan’Dale Robinson flashed before tearing his ACL, but Flowers could really unlock another level of the offense. With explosive traits, great instincts and 4.42 speed, he caught 78 balls for 1,077 yards and 12 TDs in 2022. Flowers is only 5-9 and 182 pounds, though, and fits best in the slot — where 5-8 Robinson predominantly lined up as a rookie.
Because of his size, Flowers is a bit of a divisive pick for the Giants. I am on the Flowers bandwagon, even though I would love a 6-foot-4, 210-pound player, such as Quentin Johnston of TCU.
For reference, Flowers is the fourth wide receiver selected by McShay in this mock. Johnson went No. 14 to the New England Patriots, Jordan Addison went No. 21 to the Los Angeles Chargers and Jaxon Smith-Njigba went No. 22 to the Baltimore Ravens.
Another potential Giant target, Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks, went No. 23 to the Minnesota Vikings.
That left the Giants with Flowers, perhaps Jalin Hyatt of Tennessee, a tight end like Dalton Kincaid of Utah, a linebacker like Drew Sanders of Arkansas or Trenton Simpson of Georgia, or something else.
There are drawbacks to Flowers, like his size (5-foot-9, 182 pounds), his 29¼-inch arms and the fact that he seems to duplicate at least some of what the 5-foot-8, 185-pound Wan’Dale Robinson can do.
Giants had coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka have, though, both had success with smaller wide receivers. They would find ways to utilize both Robinson and Flowers. GM Joe Schoen was clear at the combine that ability to separate was the key characteristic for receivers.
“Dabs is great about that. Again, he wants guys who can separate. If you can separate, no matter how tall, short, wide, if you can separate, we’ll find a way to use them within the offense whether it’s outside, inside or slot,” Schoen said. “That’s one of the unique skills that Daboll has is taking the players and the skill set that he has and developing the offense around their skill set.”
In my exclusive chat with Chris Simms at the combine, he said this about what the Giants need:
“In the ideal world you’d like to have both, you’d like to have a Ja’Marr Chase and a Tee Higgins. This guy just runs by everybody, and this guy just jumps over everybody,” Simms said. “They need a guy that can catch a slant and go 70. Does every drive have to be 12 plays, 85 yards, seven minutes, they executed perfectly? It’s too hard to win like that week in and week out.”
Flowers is a game-breaker who caught 200 passes for 3,056 yards (15.3 yards per catch) and 29 touchdowns in college.
Slot target who plays with unbridled energy and immense confidence. 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.
Maybe this isn’t the perfect pick, but in this scenario I would certainly be happy with it.