No one — and I mean no one — was higher on Zay Flowers during his time at Boston College than me. That isn’t to toot my own horn, as plenty of others tabbed Flowers as a potential superstar in the NFL. But few went as far as saying he was the WR1 in the 2023 NFL Draft. Okay, maybe the Baltimore Ravens saw it the same way.
As for me, there wasn’t any second-guessing. The tape I watched at BC screamed bonafide first-round talent, and when the draft came around in April, the Ravens agreed with that sentiment. Flowers came off the board at No. 22 overall, giving Lamar Jackson a weapon unlike any he’s ever had — sorry, Hollywood Brown, it’s true.
Zay Flowers Was Always WR1 In 2023 NFL Draft
What makes Flowers so special is how elusive and twitched-up he is. Not only with the ball in his hands but also while running his routes downfield. Simply put, the 23-year-old is impossible to cover one-on-one. Even when teams put safety help over the top, Flowers still finds creative ways to get open.
Throughout the draft process, Steve Smith comparisons were the most prevalent. And while I dislike giving out player comps, I feel this one is warranted. The two move differently than their peers, while the ability they bring with the deep ball, including ball tracking, hands, and an underrated contested catch prowess is unmatched.
Another name that surfaced was Antonio Brown. Now, don’t get me wrong — there are plenty of reasons an AB comp in 2023 can be spun negatively, but let’s just stick with on-the-field traits for this discussion. Put on a split screen of Brown and Flowers and it is uncanny how similar they are.
The Ravens Landed A Bonafide Superstar
In two games with the Ravens, the first-year player already has 13 receptions for 140 yards. His biggest play thus far came Sunday against the Bengals when he took the top off the defense and gained 52 yards on a picturesque throw from Lamar Jackson.
Flowers has yet to hit pay dirt in the way of a touchdown, but those are bound to start popping up on a weekly basis. The 5-foot-9 pass catcher will never be a daunting red-zone threat — at least not in the traditional sense — but his ability to shake free from defenders in short-yardage situations should lend him more opportunities than many might expect.
Last October, I claimed Zay Flowers was a future superstar at the NFL level. While it is still too early to take any victory laps, it is hard to argue he is anything but that through two weeks. A 100-yard, two-touchdown outburst is just a matter of time — perhaps it happens on Sunday against a Colts secondary that just allowed nearly 400 passing yards to rookie C.J. Stroud.
Good luck, Darrell Baker Jr., Dallis Flowers, Kenny Moore II, Tony Brown, and Jaylon Jones. It might take all five Indy cornerbacks to keep a lid on Flowers and the Ravens’ explosive offense. There should be fireworks in Baltimore this weekend.