The NFL Draft is just a week away and I’ll continue researching the prospects throughout the lead-up to the draft. Along the way I’ll be sharing some of what I find out with Real Redskins readers. The focus will be on players in areas of need for the Redskins but I might look at players at just about any position since Scot McCloughan has said that he will take the best player available regardless of need.
What they’re saying:
Strengths: Big, athletic frame carrying more than 320 pounds with ease. Ascending mauler in the run game. Bender who is low man off snap and pops hips into block to leverage defender at the point. Combines hips, arm extension and upper-body power to consistently turn his man when base blocking. Once he gets upper hand in run game, he usually sustains and finishes. Secures combo block with a vengeance. Has feet to become solid zone blocker. Mean and highly competitive. Wants to dominate and gets surly when beaten on a snap.
Weaknesses: Pass protection needs plenty of work. Footwork gets sloppy and undisciplined, causing base to narrow. Ducks head into contact and is a leaner in pass pro, creating balance problems. Rarely flat-footed upon initial hand contact. Throws hands rather than firing authoritative punch. Hands ride too high and too wide. Content to become grabby around framework of defender. Flagged for six holding penalties over last two seasons.
How he fits the Redskins: Robert Griffin III recently recounted a conversation he had with Scot McCloughan about the Redskins getting “tough in the trenches”. If that really is their goal they should take a close look at Flowers. I particularly like the parts in the strengths description above where Zierlein talks about Flowers being “mean and highly competitive” and says that “he usually sustains and finishes.” You don’t always find those traits in such big players.
He looks like someone the Redskins could drop in at right tackle opposite Trent Williams and have bookends for the next five years or so. And, although most Redskins fans don’t like to think about this, should Williams depart in free agency after this season, Flowers has the ability to move to left tackle.
Potential issues: His technique is sloppy, particularly in pass protection. It’s odd that he is very light on his feet (at times he moves like someone who is about 30 pounds lighter) but he still has plenty of problems with his footwork.
As we’ve noted here, it’s not unusual for big college players to have some poor fundamentals. They can physically dominate regardless of hand placement or other such technical details. When they get into the NFL and football becomes a full-time job the coaches can work with them to clean up the issues. It will be up to McCloughan to determine if Flowers will be willing to put in the time and if he will be responsive to the coaching.
Flowers also had an oddly ineffective game against Virginia and their edge rusher, Eli Harold. Harold is projected to be a second-round pick so he’s a solid player. But if you have an off day against him you aren’t going to get your quarterback seriously injured. If you have a bad day when Jason Pierre-Paul or J.J. Watt is lined up against you, it could be a different story.
Bottom line: Flowers has visited Redskins Park so there could be some interest there. Earlier in the draft process many projected him to be a second-round pick. But now it looks like he might not last past the middle of the first round. If the Redskins trade back to the middle of the first, Flowers could well be on their radar.
Previously in Draft Countdown:
- Alabama WR Amari Cooper
- Kentucky Edge Bud Dupree
- Florida State OL Cameron Erving
- Connecticut DB Byron Jones
- Northern Iowa RB David Johnson
- Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon
- Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson
- Penn State S Adrian Amos
- Duke G Laken Tomlinson
- LSU OT La’el Collins
- Clemson Edge Vic Beasley
- Alabama S Landon Collins
- West Virginia WR Kevin White
- Florida DE Dante Fowler Jr.
- Oklahoma NT Jordan Phillips
- Utah CB Eric Rowe
- Nebraska DE Randy Gregory
- Virginia S Anthony Harris
- Florida State G Tre Jackson
- Syracuse S Durell Eskridge
- Stanford OT Andrus Peat
- Ole Miss S Cody Prewitt
- USC DT Leonard Williams