Zay Flowers’ draft stock is rising. He’s being mocked into Round 1. With the Giants picking at 1.25 and clearly having a need for Wide Receiver, you can imagine the chatter growing to take Flowers.
No. Hard no. The quick summary is that Flowers is too small. Let’s explain.
In past years I have discussed why I do not like WR in Round 1. No need to repeat what you already know.
Wonder, the UltimateNYG draft analyst, will make exception for the 6’3” 220 lb X WR. See Julio Jones and AJ Green in his 2011 Draft Board. Each became monsters. Green went to 7 consecutive Pro Bowls. Jones went to 7 also, 2x All Pro. One was 6’4” 207, the other a 6’3” 220 prototype. These are Wonder’s exceptions. Otherwise, he cedes to “Furman’s Rules” on not drafting these guys early.
Enter Zay Flowers. The Nattering Nabobs never met a WR they didn’t like. The higher the pick, the better he is! We just got through talking about this in the last post, and they are already pining. For Flowers. It took days.
Warren Sapp is attributed with saying: “In the first quarter of a football game, you’ll be fast, and I will be big. But in the fourth quarter, I will still be big.” I will rephrase this for Wide Receivers. In the first couple of years, you’ll be small and fast, and I will be big and fast. But after we both lose the blazing speed due to the grind of the NFL, I will still be big. This is the crux of what separates a Round 1 WR for Wonder, why I do not want to draft either, but also why I certainly do not want to draft small WR in Round 1.
Zay Flowers put on 10 lbs of muscle, he is 183 lbs, and he is 5’9.” His “spider graph” percentiles are provided by mockdraftable.com.
It jumps out that Flowers has athleticism, but he also brings along no height, no weight, no wingspan, no arm length, and not enough hand size. Do not deny that the latter does not matter. It matters plenty. Let’s add these 5 measurables together = 8 + 10 + 9 + 2 + 39 = 68/5 = 14. So Flowers is in the 14th percentile for givens. Let’s contrast this with OBJ, a less than “big” WR.
Beckham’s 4 “givens” are 57th percentile. So even though he was not a “big” WR, he was not small either.
For final contrast, let’s look at the prototype, Julio Jones.
Are you beginning to see why I am not interested AT ALL in Zay Flowers? Sure, I have watched some of his film. He is electric. I get it. He has tremendous traits that set him up with the potential for a great NFL career. These traits include elusiveness, separation, and an ability to adjust his body to go up and get the ball. Flowers may go to the Hall of Fame. And I am good with that. But I am not going to chase the 5’9″ unicorn in Round 1.
We asked Wonder about taking Flowers in Round 1. “Insane.”
Guest blogger Bruce R: “I see Tavon Austin 2.0. Small. Elusive. 5’8” 185 lbs Amazing college film. Drafted at 1.08. Spurts of glory (pro bowl returner) mixed in with too much disappointment in not reaching his promised potential. In the same year, the Texans took X WR DHop at 1.27. The Chargers got Keenan Allen at 3.76.”
The Giants already drafted Wan’dale Robinson last year in Round 2 (some, including us, liked the player, but thought that was an overdraft), and picked up Jamison Crowder + Parris Campbell this offseason in Free Agency. Since any/all 3 can take care of the slot, why get another slot joystick? Why get another slot WR … in Round 1? Yes, Flowers can line up wide. But his expertise and readiness on Day 1 will be in the slot. Good slot WRs are available in Round 3-6.
When you are running a deep route, let’s see the “apex” of how high your hand can extend to:
|Measurable (inches)||Zay Flowers||OBJ||Julio Jones||Sauce Gardner|
We are not going to factor in the weight for controlling space when establishing position for a contested ball. Do you remember that signature play when OBJ ran a deep out vs Dallas on Sunday night in his rookie season? This was his ‘Welcome to the NFL’ moment on National TV when he went up to make a breathtaking fingertip TD catch. Julio Jones has another 5″ to make that catch look ordinary! The ball will sail 8.5″ above Zay Flowers (the length of an entire hand) and we will blame Eli Manning for overthrowing him.
Weight matters in terms of blocking for other runners and receivers. It also matters in getting off of press coverage.
Zay Flowers is projected to have a good, and possibly great football career. He is not what the Giants need. Not right now, and certainly not in Round 1. Football is a game of inches. Flowers simply does not have enough inches for me to want to draft him in Round 1. Hard no. We talk all the time about measurables, and then someone like Russell Wilson at 5’11” can somehow make it at Quarterback. He breaks the mold! But do we want to be drafting this unicorn in Round 1? For their part, the Seahawks took Wilson at 3.75. Of course there are going to be other reasons to select the Zay Flowers and the Russell Wilson outliers. If you have the secret sauce for teasing out that player with certainty, great. But as we have seen too many times, there is too much error in the draft process to think that each selection is going to break the mold and be the one. Play the percentages. Do not go searching for unicorns in Round 1.
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