I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can. Find all the profiles here.
Ereck Flowers, T, Miami - 6'6, 329 - Junior - 5.31 40
I shall say right at the top here that I can't recall ever being bullish on a tackle who weighs 330 pounds or so. They are just too big, too immobile, and also too much of a risk that the high life of a paycheck and a NFL career could convert that to 350 if he isn't very careful with his lifestyle. But, we must never have hard rules about measurables. Whether it is height, weight, hand-size, bench press, or whatever, we are looking for football players and not measurements. With that in mind, the massive specimen Ereck Flowers from "The U" comes down the conveyor belt for examination. He is 20 years old and a true junior who is young, for sure, but has also played against the best pass rushers in the country and has started nearly 30 games at tackle in big time football. To look him over, we grabbed games against Florida State (Mario Edwards), Nebraska (Randy Gregory), and Virginia (Eli Harold).
Flowers is #74 in these highlights, the Hurricanes' left tackle.
What I liked: He is without question as mobile as I have ever seen from a prospect at that weight. His feet are not heavy and he has agility and mobility that you really have to admire. He is a massive man, but at times, he looks like he weighs 305 (and that is a compliment). He is a very strong, bully run-blocker who blinds you from the sun when Duke Johnson is running behind him into space. He moves to the 2nd level with ease and seldom loses on a run block at all. In pass protection, he isn't bad at all. He looked comfortable in the games against Florida State and Nebraska, and even when he gets knocked off balance, he is able to recover and re-anchor his stance before his man can get around him. What is most impressive to me is his effectiveness as a Left Tackle against edge rushers, despite perhaps having some real technique deficiencies at this stage of his young career. He has a great demeanor and battle about him. He is engaged mentally in the fight.
What I did not like: Pretty much his whole day against Eli Harold. We have learned to watch many games and a few hundred snaps because some guys just can't deal with a certain matchup, or perhaps they are hurt or just not having much of a day. For whatever reason, he looked like a 1st rounder in 2 games and Phil Loadholt in the other game (not a compliment). He also has a weird habit of being slow off the snap. Again, this seems like a technique issue and perhaps an aversion to false starts, but you cannot lose the race out of your stance in the NFL or your QB is going to get hurt. In each game, he had at least 2 instances where he is late.
Summary: There is a lot to look at here. He is a very talented big man. He is also a very young prospect. To imagine him in 3 years is a very exciting possibility that he might be a very strong tackle - maybe even a left tackle. He is as strong as you can imagine with 37 reps on the bench press and his feet are quite impressive. This one might come down to your coaching staff and your faith in them to bring him along. I also might like to treat him as a prospect who you don't want to start on day 1. That would be odd for certain teams to not ask their 1st rounder to start, but I bet he could use some low-pressure settings to get everything squared away in his rookie season. But, there is plenty here to get excited about and to invest in for the future. I think he has all the makings of a very good tackle and a guy that will watch your flank against big rushers for many years. You almost have to run around a mountain to get to the QB with Flowers.
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