NFL Draft Round 1 Recap: Zay Flowers to Baltimore Ravens

Give the Ravens their Flowers. April 27, 2023 was a wild day for the Baltimore Ravens. Mere hours before the start of the NFL Draft began, news broke that quarterback Lamar Jackson agreed in principle to a 5-year, $260 million contract with $185 million guaranteed. With Ravens fans rejoicing the return of their MVP quarterback, many were now eager to see how Baltimore would follow this up in the draft.

Despite receiving calls to move down, Baltimore opted to stand pat at 22. With that pick, the Ravens selected Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers. And so, the Ravens continued to upgrade their pass-catchers in a way Ravens fans haven’t seen before. The smaller, yet explosive, Flowers gives the Ravens a playmaking threat fans have been yearning for. It was a selection that was lauded by players and draft pundits alike.

It isn’t difficult to see why so many think Flowers will be special. Though he may be a bit undersized at just 5’9″ and 182 pounds, Flowers may be the most dynamic player in this year’s draft. An electrifying playmaker, Flowers is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. A terrifying underneath option for Lamar, Flowers is a chess piece that can be moved all around the field.

He shouldn’t be immediately labeled as strictly a slot receiver, as Flowers did his best work in Boston College outside the numbers. That is a receiving threat the Ravens haven’t had since Steve Smith Sr. Flowers isn’t just a deep threat; he’s a threat with the ball in his hands. Making plays after the catch is the Boston College product’s forte.

Ravens GM Eric DeCosta stated early in the offseason that he wanted to attack the receiver position. Clearly he is a man of his word. Despite using a first round pick on Rashod Bateman in 2o21 and signing Odell Beckham to a 1-year, $18 million deal in the offseason, the Ravens wanted more talent at receiver.

Bringing Zay Flowers in to pair with Bateman and Beckham Jr may give the Ravens their most stacked receiving corps in team history. Clearly Lamar Jackson was excited for the pick.

It was a bit of a surprise to see the Ravens pass on the slew of cornerbacks who had fallen to 22. The Ravens have always prioritized the defense, particularly the secondary, more than most franchises. There is a massive need for a starter opposite Marlon Humphrey. However, this is a deep defensive back class. Clearly the Ravens felt that the value of Flowers trumped the value of any corner in that spot. There is still plenty of time to address that position.

The Ravens may not be heavily active on Day 2 of the draft. Baltimore is only slated to make the 86th selection in the third round. Regardless, this is quite the start for a Ravens team that was brimming with tremendous news on draft day. For the first time in months, the future is looking clear and bright for Baltimore.

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