Baltimore Ravens Select Dynamic Playmaker in Mock Draft

Zay Flowers Ravens

In Mike Kashuba’s post-free agency mock draft for Last Word on Sports, the Baltimore Ravens select dynamic playmaker Zay Flowers. Coming out of Boston College, Flowers is an enticing receiver prospect who has shown good explosiveness with the ball in his hands. In Kashuba’s scenario, the Ravens select Flowers with the 22nd overall pick. He was the fourth receiver off the board.

“While Rashod Bateman was touted as a separator, Flowers is more of a YAC monster. If Lamar Jackson is still wearing purple next year, this gives him a much-needed weapon,” explains Kashuba.

As it stands, wide receiver is Baltimore’s top need right now. The team has been without an elite wideout for the entirety of Jackson’s NFL career. Thus, Baltimore could do with some more talent at the position, and Flowers gives them just that. It is unclear how Todd Monken’s new offense will work exactly. However, Flowers’ versatility and natural playmaking ability makes him a scheme fit in pretty much all NFL offenses.

In the mock draft, selecting Flowers meant that Baltimore missed out on Jalin Hyatt (wide receiver), Nolan Smith (edge) and Brian Branch (defensive back). Joey Porter Jr. (cornerback) and B.J. Ojulari (edge) made it into the second round. All of these prospects would have made sense for Baltimore too, given the team’s needs. Given that Flowers was the fourth receiver selected (behind Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jordan Addison, and Quentin Johnston), the Ravens could trade down if they are not enamored with the prospect. However, both Addison and Johnston went at 20 and 21, meaning Baltimore could also look to leapfrog the teams ahead of them to have a greater selection of receivers available.

Baltimore Ravens Select Zay Flowers in Mock Draft

Flowers to Baltimore is a tried-and-tested selection at this point. While Baltimore remains in the rumors for DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham Jr., their inactivity in acquiring wide receivers so far suggests that drafting one in the first round is nearly a necessity. Jackson has never had good wide receivers and, should Baltimore want to keep him, Eric DeCosta will need to start making guarantees on acquiring quality wideouts. Thus, selecting Flowers would also be a confidence vote in Jackson, and a way to secure his long-term future with the Ravens.

As Kashuba rightly notes, Flowers offers a different skillset to Bateman. He is a twitchy athlete who is lethal in the open field. His versatile playmaking ability is, perhaps, similar to that of Devin Duvernay. While Duvernay had a good 2022 season, he approaches the end of his rookie deal and could feasibly be on a different team in 2024. As such, drafting Flowers is both an upgrade and a replacement for Duvernay’s impending free agent status.

Flowers makes sense for many reasons. However, other factors make his selection puzzling. The first is that Flowers’ usage would be highly similar to Duvernay’s. Given how Duvernay is starting to settle in (as well as his special teams value), it would make sense to keep him around long-term. As such, Flowers would be less of a need.

There is also a question of whether Baltimore should opt to grab a veteran receiver. The team has drafted numerous receivers over the years and has found little success. Acquiring a veteran is a little more surefire compared to drafting rookies. Therefore, the team could look to bolster their receiving corps through trade or free agency, rather than another developmental player. The free agent wide receivers are, however, slightly underwhelming currently.

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