After setting program records in his senior season, Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers has his sights set on the 2023 NFL Draft. Once considered an under-sized and under-the-radar prospect in this pass-catching class, Flowers is blossoming under the national spotlight, and his scouting report reveals much-warranted early-round hype.
Zay Flowers NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Wide receiver
- School: Boston College
- Current Year: Senior
- Height/Weight: 5’10”, 172 pounds
In a deep pool of talented players at your position, it can often be challenging to differentiate yourself from your peers. Fortunately for Flowers, the diminutive wide receiver has spent his life attempting to stand out in a crowd.
One of 14 children, Xavien “Zay” Kevonn Flowers emerged from the talent-prosperous and highly competitive state of Florida, where he was a productive multi-sport star for the University School in Fort Lauderdale. A three-star recruit in the 2019 class, he spurned an early commitment to Nebraska for the opportunity to suit up for Boston College.
The Floridian phenom was a significant coup for the Eagles class, and he began to show why immediately. Scoring a 33-yard touchdown in his debut against Virginia Tech, he tallied 116 all-purpose yards to showcase his offensive versatility as a truly dynamic weapon. Averaging 7.2 yards per carry on the ground, he registered 536 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns as a true freshman.
Over the next two seasons, Zay earned his flowers as the elite presence in the Eagles’ offense. Becoming just the second Boston College WR to earn first-team All-ACC honors in 2020, he racked up 1,548 receiving yards and 15 total touchdowns between his sophomore and junior campaigns. However, national attention as an NFL Draft prospect evaded him, and the dynamic wide receiver return to Chestnut Hill for his senior season.
Despite the team struggling during the 2022 college football season, Flowers has been as impressive as ever. In fact, the Eagles pass catcher has been in record-breaking form. After recording 130 receiving yards against North Carolina State, he now holds the program record for career receiving yards.
By the end of the 2022 season, he’ll likely also solely hold the Boston College record for single-season touchdowns, career touchdowns, and career receptions.
His performances this season finally have people talking about Flowers as a bona fide 2023 NFL Draft prospect. People around the program have known for a while, but the Boston College wide receiver is firmly in the crosshairs of national attention. His selection to the 2023 Shrine Bowl only elevates Flowers’ chances of meeting his draft potential next April.
Zay Flowers Scouting Report
During his four seasons at Boston College, Flowers has established himself as one of the most dynamic playmakers in college football. He’s been impressively productive through a variety of schemes and quarterbacks, especially when you consider the power-run-focused offense that was run by Steve Addazio upon his arrival to Chestnut Hill.
However, statistics and productivity don’t make a prospect. So, what is it about Flowers’ game that is attracting attention ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft? Starting with his strengths, let’s scrutinize the Boston College wide receiver’s scouting report before identifying areas for improvement and projecting where he currently stands in the wide receiver class.
Dynamic athleticism is the genesis of Flowers’ 2023 NFL Draft scouting report. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s the entirety of his game, but there are few prospects in this class who are able to consistently put their opponent in a pickle the way that Flowers can.
The Boston College wideout has ludicrous change-of-direction ability, making him extremely elusive in the open field. There are many examples across his college career where Flowers snatches souls and breaks ankles with his instantaneous ability to plant and re-route. His contortionist-esque body control enables him to evade tackles, leaving his opponent flapping at the vacated air that the elite Eagle used to inhabit.
In addition to his incredible agility, Flowers also possesses excellent play speed. As a result, he presents as a three-level threat at the NFL level. He can take the top off a defense in a straight line. Meanwhile, he’s able to turn on the jets when receiving the ball in the short and intermediate areas and out-run linebackers and even the most athletic defensive backs in the secondary.
With the level of training that prospects put in for the 40-yard dash, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Boston College receiver crack 4.3 seconds during the 2023 NFL Combine. While his speed alone is impressive and worthy of attention, Flowers has also showcased the ability to control his route tempo.
He can lure opponents by throttling down during his route and then effortlessly accelerating away, creating easy separation. Flowers has also shown the ability to sell route fakes with his headwork and the flexibility in his lower half to flick his hips effortlessly, combined with the ankle flexion that helps him change direction so ruthlessly.
During his Boston College career, Flowers’ fast feet have allowed him to defeat his opponent off the line. He’s also showcased a package of releases, although recent exposure to press-man hasn’t been significant due to the threat his speed brings.
Explosive. Dynamic. Dangerous. Three words that are the hallmark of Flowers’ 2023 NFL Draft scouting report. However, there’s more to the 22-year-old wideout than a simple speed and after-the-catch threat.
He’s showcased versatility throughout his college football career, tasked with multiple alignments and responsibilities in the Eagles’ offense. There’s a misconception that he operates purely out of the slot, but Flowers has taken snaps outside and from the backfield while also being used in motion to devastating effect.
From a pure catching perspective, Flowers has elevated his game this season. The Boston College receiver has impressive ball skills, based on a foundation of excellent ball tracking and completed with the ability to utilize strong hands at the catch point. His diminutive frame hasn’t been a barrier to reeling in contested catches against some of the best DBs in the nation.
Flowers’ Areas of Improvement
While Flowers’ scouting report so far paints the picture of a wide receiver prospect with All-Pro potential, it’s time to temper expectations by exploring some areas of improvement.
At 5’10” and 172 pounds, he has a distinct size disadvantage compared to the other top pass catchers in the class. As such — and despite proving he has alignment versatility — he’s likely to be viewed exclusively as a slot receiver at the next level. While that’s certainly not a nail in the coffin to his value, it may limit his landing spots when the NFL Draft rolls around.
Flowers’ frame also impacts his ability to play the game as an all-around physical threat. While he can battle at the catch point with the best of them, he doesn’t easily overcome traffic across the middle of the field. When faced with more physical defensive backs or linebackers, his route trajectory can be compromised and knocked off course more easily than you would like to see for a true three-level NFL threat.
Having praised his catch-point prowess, there is still room for Flowers to improve here. There’s been a definite progression from previous seasons when there were a high number of drops due to his former propensity for body catches rather than securing the ball out of the air. A smaller catch radius than some of the more highly-rated receivers in the class might have a negative impact on his stock.
Current Draft Projection for Boston College WR Zay Flowers
Labeling a prospect as having first-round potential isn’t something to do lightly. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Boston College wide receiver penetrate the first 31 selections — the Miami Dolphins forfeited a first-round pick, making us one short of the usual 32 — of the 2023 NFL Draft.
I’ve been firm in this opinion for some time, and according to Shrine Bowl Director Eric Galko, both college football’s longest-running all-star game and at least one NFL team share that opinion.
As an NFL franchise, you want to know that you can get an immediate return from a Day 1 player. With his experience in motion and short-area after-the-catch dynamism, Flowers offers you exactly that.
With his high-level athletic traits and upwards pass-catching trajectory, there is no reason to believe that Flowers can’t replicate his Boston College success at the next level. The height and weight concerns won’t disappear — which could impact his stock and result in a Day 2 selection — but “Big Play Zay” can still stand out from the crowd in a packed class.