Boston College Football HC Jeff Hafley: Ravens WR Zay Flowers ‘A Complete Wideout’

The Baltimore Ravens selected Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers with the 22nd pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Flowers played four years at Boston College (2019-2022). He left the program as the Eagles’ all-time leader in career receptions (200), receiving yards (3,056), and receiving touchdowns (29). As a senior, Flowers was a third-team All-American and a semi-finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the top receiver in the nation.

Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley, who has seven years of experience coaching defensive backs in the NFL, thinks Flowers is going to be a nightmare for defensive backs in the NFL despite not either not the biggest target in size (5ft 9in, 182lbs).

“You’re going to have a hard time covering this guy one-on-one,” Hafley said on Glenn Clark Radio on May 1. because he can free. He can reduce the surface, he can make you miss and he can speed up. Its ability to stop and start is ridiculous.

Hafley cited two games in particular from Boston College’s game against Louisville in October 2022 as times when he knew Flowers was going to be a special player.

The first play was a 57-yard touchdown reception in which Flowers adjusted to make an over the shoulder catch of a defender in double coverage. The second play was an impressive 22-yard run on a missed play, though it wasn’t a touchdown because Flowers went out of bounds just short of the goal line.

“There was [two] defenders, and he went up and took the ball completely away from them,” Hafley said. “And then the other one, we called a reverse pass – because Zay can throw, so it’s going to be tough to defend too. He caught a bubble going to his left…and no one was open. So he backtracked all over the field and [nearly] scored a touchdown while running about 40 yards. … He probably ran 90 yards to get 40 yards, which caused six people to miss.

Flowers ran a 4.42-second 40-yard sprint at the NFL Scouting Combine. His arms and hands are a bit smaller than the league average for receivers, but that didn’t stop him from posting an 82-of-99 overall score, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

Although his size indicates he will likely be limited to one role in the league, Hafley insists Flowers is more than capable of being used in many ways.

“We had to develop it. And that’s why I think it was really important that he stayed last year,” said Hafley, BC’s head coach since December 2019. “…He wasn’t just the guy who was getting bubble screens and [receiving handoffs]. He went from a guy who could catch and run and miss people to a guy who late last year could go out and do the contested catch. And in my opinion, it’s not just a slot machine. He is completely ruled out.

The Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson agreed to a five-year extension just before the draft. The team also signed free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., but that didn’t stop them from taking another wide receiver as their first pick to help their franchise quarterback.

Much like Jackson, Flowers hails from South Florida. Hailing from Fort Lauderdale, Flowers is the fourth youngest of 14 siblings. His mother, Jackie, died when he was 5 from a head injury. Her father, Willie, worked tirelessly to support the family after the tragedy.

Hafley says the person the Ravens just signed is just as important as the football player.

“You get a guy who is going to give his all to his teammates, just like he gave his all to his family, just like he gave his all to his team and his coaches, and he’s going to stay committed to them, and he’s going to stay loyal. to them,” Hafley said. “He’s been through a lot of tough times, but it never broke him. And he comes out with a smile on his face with a ton of energy, whether it’s family issues, whether it’s family cross-dressing, or whether it’s on a team that hasn’t had much success this year, yet he kept going harder than anyone.

For more on Hafley, listen to the full interview here:

Photo credit: courtesy of BC Football

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