East-West Shrine Bowl Interview: Boston College WR Zay Flowers

In doing prep work for the East-West Shrine Bowl this year, there was one name that jumped out a class above everyone else, that being a potential first round pick in Boston College’s star receiver, Zay Flowers. A relatively undersized receiver, measuring in at 5’9” 182 at the Shrine Bowl weigh-ins, Flowers put together a dominant four-year career at Boston College, garnering First-Team All-ACC honors twice (2020 and 2022), along with Third-Team All-ACC honors once (2021).

Flowers views himself as a three-level threat, able to damage to opposing defenses in a variety of facets, including receiving, rushing, and on special teams. It’s easy to see why. Flowers finished his career with 200 receptions for 3,056 yards (13.9 yards per reception) and 12 touchdowns, adding 57 rushes for 345 yards (6.1 yards per rush) and another two touchdowns. As a senior this past fall, Flowers put together 78 receptions for 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns, all career highs, good enough to be named a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award. In his dominant senior season, Flowers set a new BC record in receiving touchdowns in a season while also tying the record for catches in a season.

Steelers Depot had the chance to sit down in Las Vegas at the 98th edition of the East-West Shrine Bowl with the potential first-round pick in April’s 2023 NFL Draft.

With Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin in attendance to watch his son Dino, Flowers’ teammate and fellow receiver at Boston College, take on Rutgers in their season opener, Flowers erupted for 10 receptions, 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While he insisted that he and Tomlin have not yet spoken through his connection with Dino, it is reasonable to assume that performance will be ingrained into the veteran head coach’s brain as the team navigates deeper into the draft process, particularly given that Flowers represents much of what Pittsburgh needs in a receiver, namely another weapon who has plenty of slot experience, and potentially adds a dynamic YAC element that the team solely missed this past season.

While he is not going to compete in any live periods during practice, Flowers’ choice to come out to Vegas to engage in interviews with teams ensures that Pittsburgh’s scouting department will get a chance to speak with the receiver, who is likely their top target out here in Vegas.

Below, is a question and answer session with Flowers from inside the players’ lounge in The Velvet Room at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for the East-West Shrine Game.

Question: What are your plans for practice and the game for the rest of the week?

Zay Flowers: My plan for practice is to participate tomorrow, do [individual drills], run routes, catch a little bit, but I don’t really think I’ll be participating much for the rest of the week or in the game, honestly.

Q: How do you feel about Tyreek Hill being floated around as a player comp for you? Do you think that’s an accurate reflection of your game?

Flowers: I think it’s accurate in the explosive part, but the speed part, he is honestly on a different level when it comes to speed. But I think the explosive part is correct, honestly.

Q: In playing with Dino Tomlin at Boston College in the same position group, did you ever get the chance to meet and interact with Mike Tomlin and if so, how’d that go?

Flowers: No, not really. I’ve seen him before but I never got to interact or talk to him. But we would talk about ’em in the locker room, but that was about it.

Q: What does your weekly preparation look like in terms of film study for opponents?

Flowers: Film study, I usually start it after the game. Like, so if I play a game Saturday, I’ll start film study on the team the next day. I’ll study the corners, see if they got hips, like if they could run, if they are physical, handsy. So I’ll just watch that throughout the week. And then I usually meet with my coach at night, every day.

Q: What are your goals and expectations for the combine?

Flowers: Honestly just hit all my goals to try to get everything that I’m working for. Go get that 4.3, 15 reps on 225. Just try to hit all of my goals.

Q: So you came into Boston College as a defensive back. Do you feel like that helps your weekly preparation for corners?

Flowers: Yeah,it gave me an idea of how corners like to play, honestly. Because I was in that position before, thinking the same way as them, so that gave me a feel for how I could run my routes and get open.

Q: [Boston College head coach] Jeff Hafley is often described in coaching circles as a bit of a defensive back guru since coming over from Ohio State. How tough was it going against the guys that he coached in practice, whether it’s, you know, Brandon Sebastian who was here last year, or any of your other teammates?

Flowers: I mean, he had them playing very fundamentally sound. Like everything was right. Everything was coached right. So our receivers coach had us very technical too. Working with our hands in our releases was important, catching through the hands, finishing contested catches. So it was a very competitive environment in practice.

Q: Going off of that, what team that you guys played in the league did you find to be the toughest matchup in terms of an opposing secondary?

Flowers: Probably Clemson honestly, but the D-line made it so tough because they get back there so fast. So you ain’t gotta cover that long when you got a great line.

Q: What’s your single favorite route to run?

Flowers: All of em.

Q: How do you see your role at the next level?

Flowers: I think I could be used as a three level threat including jet sweeps and special teams. So I feel like I can be used any type of way that a team needs me to be.

Q: Have you talked to any teams here, or just kind of general meetings with scouts?

Flowers: Yeah, just like about me, who I am as a person, about my family, and stuff like that, why I love football,, just the basics of it.

In a league where teams can never have enough weapons, adding a Zay Flowers into the fold in Pittsburgh could help add juice to an offense which, quite frankly, lacked an explosive element in the passing game. Both in doing damage after the catch, and getting carries in the constant jet sweep and reverse action, Zay Flowers presents a solid scheme fit in Pittsburgh.

Be sure to check out our own Alex Kozora’s full profile and evaluation of Flowers linked below. Out of all the names out in Vegas, Flowers seems the most likely to be one that Pittsburgh could target, potentially with one of their two second round picks.

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