In 2022, the Las Vegas Raiders had several notable weaknesses across their roster. While certainly not the biggest hole on the team, wide receiver was a talent-deficient position. Of course, Davante Adams was perhaps the league’s very best, but after him? Not much. Since the team has an electric playmaker in Adams and a slot weapon in Hunter Renfrow, it is not likely to fill its WR2 spot until later in the draft. Enter Zay Flowers, a speedster from Boston College who could solve some issues in Las Vegas.
Strengths for Zay Flowers
One of the most exciting players in college football, Flowers was a touchdown waiting to happen at Boston College. With easy speed down the field, he can run past defenses on shot plays as easily as he can run around them on bubble screens. On every route he runs, he displays an uncanny ability to change direction that leaves defenders looking silly.
Incredibly dynamic after the catch, getting him the ball in space will be paramount at the next level. In fact, he is so lethal in the open field that he could also factor in on special teams as a return man. Regardless, utilizing Flowers on screens, sweeps, and quick-hitting pass plays will be key to unlocking his potential.
Despite his size, he was surprisingly effective in contested catch situations as well. Obviously, contested catch rates tend to drop as players hit the NFL and the physicality increases, but seeing him succeed in these spots is certainly a positive.
Zay Flowers is faster than the speed of light pic.twitter.com/hR3As0m7ST
— Barstool BC (@BarstoolBC) September 7, 2019
Weaknesses for Zay Flowers
Unfortunately, Flowers is incredibly small. Listed at just 172 pounds, he might even weigh less than that. Of course, this will limit the role he can play in an offense. His frame is small as well, so he does not have a large catch radius to even things out. Drops have also been an issue at points in his collegiate career.
Overall, the NFL Scouting Combine will be huge for Flowers, who will certainly have to reach a requisite height and weight threshold for select teams to spend a draft pick on him.
NFL Evaluation for the Boston College product
Despite his obvious and exciting playmaking ability, Flowers is a tough projection for the NFL. Of course, his speed and game-changing ability after the catch will make him valuable to a team, but his incredibly slight build will give cause for concern. Simply put, it is not easy to have success at his size. Furthermore, this will likely make him a slot-only player in the NFL, which certainly decreases his value to teams. If he can add weight, his best-case scenario initially will be as a gadget player who gets schemed touches and targets on downfield shot plays.
Raiders: How would he fit?
Once again, Flowers will be a tough projection for Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels. If selected by Las Vegas, he would profile as the team’s WR2, who was routinely used to threaten teams down the field through the use of his game-breaking speed and agility. While Adams was able to take the top off last season, they did not have a true speedster on the roster. Flowers would fill that role.
Alas, McDaniels’ would have to be smart in his deployment of the Boston College alum. At his size, surviving on the outside against press coverage is going to be tough, especially as a rookie. As such, he will have to be given free releases. It is easy to imagine formations where Flowers stretches the field from the slot, with Adams and Renfrow on the boundary.
If the Raiders were to select Flowers, they would certainly be doing so with a plan in place. While the Raiders’ offense was explosive in 2022, this selection would be one that takes the unit to an entirely different level. At the very least, it would be fun to watch.
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