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2023 Draft Profile: Zay Flowers, WR

Boston College's Zay Flowers could be one of the best bargains in your rookie drafts - how does his game translate to the NFL?

Zay Flowers has been one of the steadiest receivers in college football the past few seasons and enjoyed a “breakout” season as a senior in 2022. The numbers may not be on par with some of the other big names in the class, but the talent is evident. The offensive system at Boston College didn’t do Flowers any favors. 

Profile

  • College: Boston College
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 177 lbs. 
  • Age: 22 yrs. (September 11, 2000)
  • Year: Senior
  • Draft Projection: Late First – Early Second Round

College Career

Flowers was a three-star player in the class of 2019, hailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is one of 14 children in his family and is used to fighting for attention. He had 29 total offers – including Purdue, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Kansas State. Flowers initially committed to Nebraska but ultimately decided to attend Boston College due mainly to the efforts of coach Brian White, now a running back coach for the BC. 

Receiving & Rushing Table
ReceReceReceRece RushRushRushRush ScriScriScriScri
Year School Class G Rec Yds Avg TD Att Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2019Boston CollegeFR132234115.53271957.214953610.94
2020Boston CollegeSO115689215.9911413.716793313.910
2021Boston CollegeJR124474617.057699.905181516.05
2022Boston CollegeSR1278107713.81212403.3090111712.412
CareerBoston College200305615.329573456.12257340113.231

As a freshman, the team used Flowers in many different ways. He caught 22 passes for 341 yards and rushed 27 times for 195 yards, scouring four times total. In 2020, as a sophomore, he caught 56 balls for 892 yards and nine TDs, leading to massive expectations for 2021. 

Instead, due to quarterback injuries, Flowers regressed a tad bit to 44 grabs from 746 yards with five TDs. I suspected he might enter the Draft due to being held back by his team and offensive system. Instead, Flowers returned to BC to post an excellent senior season. 

Quarterback Phil Jurkovec played more in 2022 but still didn’t tally an entire season, and Flowers excelled regardless. He reined in 78 receptions for 1,077 yards and 12 scores and rushed the ball 12 times for 40 yards. Despite the circumstances, Flowers had a great season that could have been even better with more quarterback stability. His time with the hallowed East Coast University was finished, as he opted to enter the 2023 Draft. 

Strengths

Athleticism

The root of Flowers’ game is ridiculous athleticism, which makes him so dangerous. His change of direction is simply insane. Before the catch, in his route running, he can shift directions at full speed and create separation at ease with a quick stop or change of direction. 

After the catch, it makes Flowers incredibly dangerous with the ball in his hands. He’s very difficult to tackle in the open field due to his shiftiness. 

All of that is on display in this catch. I felt sorry for the defenders; Flowers has them on skates after his catch. The change of direction and ease with which he weaves through defenders will help him succeed at the next level. 

The Technicality of Playing WR

This one was tough to put into words, but this is the best way I can describe it. Flowers is an intelligent player and understands how to play wide receiver. As a route runner, he is brilliant at selling a route, changing direction, flipping around defensive backs, and using varying speeds to create separation. 

I contemplated bunches of clips, but I love this pieced-together few clips. It showcases Flowers’ hands, body control, and ability to track the ball. The second catch is one of the best I have ever seen a wideout make. Absolutely ridiculous body control and hands. 

Check out his hands on this catch, another insane catch. Flowers was plagued by atrocious quarterback play and bailed out his signal callers many times. 

Versatility

Flowers will likely be a slot receiver, but his versatility will allow him to put up good numbers. He can catch the ball on short quick routes and turn them into big plays. Flowers is good at working the middle and the second level, finding a way to get open in holes in zones, and creating enough separation to allow his quarterback to hit him. And Flowers can stretch the field. He’s got good enough speed to get past defensive backs, and then his body control and tracking allow him to box out and make the catch. 

Or, the offense can find a way to get him the ball creatively, and Flowers can make this happen. He’s a playmaker. His play speed and athletic ability make him versatile. Flowers can win in many ways. 

Weaknesses

Size and Frame

The size, man, it’s always about the size. Even though you may tell your woman friends it’s not. Flowers is a smaller receiver, and it will limit him to only playing the slot. Despite his ability to track the ball and create separation on the outside, his size and frame will hinder him. I don’t see any way he can add weight even, and his frame is maxed out. 

His arms are under 30” long and limit his catch radius. On most of the deep catches I saw on tape, Flowers would wait to extend his arms, not allowing defensive backs time to defend. He sells the catch well, but Flowers will not be a guy that high points to win catches. 

Drops 

Flowers had nine drops in his senior season and 24 over his career, for an abysmal 10.3% drop rate. It’s an area that needs work, and if it’s an issue early, he may never see the targets he should get. It’s hard to get reps if that’s an issue, and the NFL won’t tolerate many. 

The Wrap Up

Zay Flowers is a great consolation prize for a team needing a wideout and not wanting to burn really early draft capital. He has second-day potential and should be off the board by the end of the third round. But he’s got the potential to be a WR2 in the NFL and fantasy. 

Speaking of fantasy, I am aggressively targeting Flowers in the second round. He’s got potential, and if he gets the right landing spot, he could have some juicy numbers for fantasy. If he can keep away from the drops and a team works to ensure he gets 100 targets, the fantasy production will follow. I think he’s got an 80/1,100/8 upside and a high floor too. 

Flowers may finally get the quarterback he has been searching for, which could also assist with drops. Quarterbacks had a 106.1 rating when targeting Flowers in 2022. He can get open, run after the catch, and is phenomenal in adjusting to bad throws. He has massive potential and could be a steal in the second round of fantasy drafts. 

Make sure you subscribe to the #NerdHerd, where you get exclusive content, dynasty/rookie/devy rankings, buy/sell tool, and a bonus podcast too. Dynasty Nerds also recently launched the #DynastyGM tool, a complete game-changer in the fantasy industry. Click here for a free trial. We truly are your one-stop shop for all your fantasy football needs!

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