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Zay Flowers GameScope Film Review (FREE PREVIEW)

Height: 5'9"

Weight: 182 (Shrine Bowl weigh in)

Projected 40 Time: 4.45

Strength: Twitch

Weakness: Size

When people in the know talk about Zay Flowers, they speak highly of his character. Or at least that's what I read on the internet. Football character starts and ends with toughness, so our film review begins with a picture of Zay's effort. This was my favorite play. He stumbles at the top of his route, falling on the turf, but gets back up - works into & around the DB, drops a 172lb anchor like a Left Tackle and keeps the DB from making a play upfield. Fantastic football. Zay loves the game, loves his teammates. If you watch him play, you'll fall in love too.

Zay is an ultra-clean mover. He can run any route, and, unlike Josh Downs or Jaxon Smith-Njigba, he spent plenty of time out wide. Boston College played Zay all over the formation and used him to attack every level of the defense. Zay's smooth transitions create easy separation in isolation matchups. In the play below, Zay flips his hips all the way around to work back downhill to the ball. He barely chops and wastes zero time at the top of his route. Many athletes are quick, but there's typically only a handful each year that can transition this well. Consider highly-drafted Jalen Reagor or Henry Ruggs and the extra time they needed to be able to roll in and out of their breaks. Consider their lack of usage on stop routes and comebacks. Those were field stretchers. Zay can be anything to any offense.

Zay might not have the best 40 time. If he's never run it before I can see it being disappointing. Potentially disappointing enough to go in to the "not-an-NFL-athlete" bin at his size. If he runs a Brandon Aiyuk style 4.50, I wouldn't mind. His game speed is enough.

Zay's small stature is relevant. Corners with length can smother him. While he is a physical player, if long CBs get their hands on him, he can be eliminated (think Antonio Brown vs Richard Sherman). He gets strapped in the two plays below. Dead off the snap. Zay lacks the length to create the lateral displacement large enough to move a longer player off him in a tight space.

However, he has the speed and the technical awareness to make plays against these tough matchups. Same defender, same game and Zay just blows by, re-stacks and scores. The big key? Zero dancing at the line and a perfectly timed swat. Zay keeps the defender's hands off and he gets the ball in the endzone. There's no better example of a player learning and adapting in-game than this three play series right here. Zay was presented with a serious obstacle and he figured out how to overcome it. That's not something a coach teaches on the sideline. That's something that has been worked and developed over several years. Zay's performance this game was like a man cycling through his toolbox to find the right tool, the right pattern and the right timing in order to unlock the safe. Zay's problem-solving ability is what makes him so much more than what he is on paper.

Defenders should prioritize initiation of contact. If you give him space off the line, he'll shred you with quickness.

That quickness is a ubiquitous component in every element of his game. He's quick when he's the initiator (release, routes) as well as the reactor (post-catch). The highlight reel is full of Zay breaking defenders down with well timed steps and elite stop-start moves. This play showcases the best of it. From deep catch to identification of the oncoming defender, he's instantaneous in his reaction. Slow it down and we can see that he's cutting as he's catching. He felt the defender without looking at him, long before the ball got there. Supreme anticipatory awareness + elite reactive quickness = 70 yd TD instead of a 50 yd catch. That's +8 fantasy points for the math guys.

Along with elite quickness and fluid problem-solving, Zay is unique from almost every other 5'9" 172 pounder because of the way he positions himself at the catch point. The best receivers in football find a way to place their body between the ball and the defender in every scenario. Ja'Marr Chase is the master of this, and I added the trait "Irreducibility" to my grading system because of his special skill. Irreducibility is more important than "Separation" because you cannot separate from everyone all the time.

In the play below, Zay beats the CB off the line and works through contact to stack on top of him while selling an outside corner route to push the safety outside. Already fantastic work. Zay slashes back inside, but slows himself up as the ball arrives so the trailing CB has to make a play through Zay in order to have a shot at the ball. He finishes the play by making a leaping catch while being tackled. It's thoroughly impressive coordination, but even more brilliant because how he framed the scenario. Consider how many times a WR will get his hands on the ball and the DB chases to punch the ball out after it arrives. Zay blocks him out and makes the spectacular play.

Zay's size could drop his draft stock to Day 2, but this is a highly talented football player that maximizes the frame God gave him. Expect him to outperform expectation if he's taken anywhere outside of the first round. He should carve out a solid role as a versatile off-ball weapon at the next level.


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