Lamar Jackson got paid on Thursday like no one else in NFL history, ending a months-long stalemate between the star quarterback and the Ravens. And if that wasn’t enough Baltimore gave him his Flowers too. Isn’t $185 million in guaranteed money enough recognition? Not exactly, as the Ravens used the No. 22 pick in this year’s NFL Draft to select former Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers. Talk about the dog house to the penthouse for Baltimore’s outlook on the 2023 season in a matter of six hours.
Flowers was in the top group of wide receivers in the draft and was a two-time All-American for the Eagles in 2020 and 2022. Oddly enough, the year in between is when I got to watch Flowers play live when Missouri traveled to Chestnut Hill to face BC. Dude can flat-out play. He wasn’t the best wideout in the draft but he’s not far behind. Playing alongside Odell Beckham Jr. will only make both of them better. And with the trend of NFL franchises prioritizing wide receivers as the second-most-important position on the field, Flowers moving to Baltimore greatly improves the outside weapons for the Ravens. Most importantly, it gives Jackson a tremendous security blankety when he can’t solely win a game with his legs.
A run of WRs in the later part of Round 1
No wide receiver was selected until No. 20, but then four straight were chosen with all three wideouts selected around Flowers all coming into the NFL Draft having more notoriety, mainly due to the other trio playing for better teams. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Quentin Johnston, and Jordan Addison all played for teams chasing a College Football Playoff spot last season or won a CFP semifinal before getting smacked by Georgia. And Boston College didn’t beat an FBS team last season by more than a single point. Coming from that adversity should give Flowers an edge entering the NFL. He won’t take any success for granted as he comes from a program where making a bowl game is seen as a major success.
Flowers has as much chance to succeed in his first year in the NFL as any other wide receiver in the draft and enters the best situation of any of the four taken in the first round. Sure, Addison is going to Minnesota and Kirk Cousins has to throw the ball at least 40 times a game because the Vikings already have the best receiver in the league in Justin Jefferson, which will give Addison plenty of reps. Then you have to remember Cousins is throwing him the ball. The Ravens’ playbook is curtailed to highlight Jackson and lift up everyone around him. And that will mean chances for Flowers, as Beckham isn’t a sure bet to have a monopoly on targets like Jefferson.
While at the NFL Draft itself, the Ravens weren’t the biggest winners, Baltimore had the best week of any team by far and that includes the Jets, who finally have a reputable quarterback. And Aaron Rodgers will lead New York to the playoffs, and that’s it. A motivated, healthy Jackson with a solid offensive line and multiple threats on the outside is a phenomenal site in Baltimore. The addition of Flowers was the best cherry on top Jackson could have hoped for on the best day of his career.