Pundits across the NFL landscape gave their grades and opinions on the best picks of 2023 NFL draft’s Round 1 selections, and by consensus, the Ravens are among the winners and high grades.
The Athletic’s Scott Dochterman: Grade — A-
“The Ravens were thin at receiver, and the electrifying Flowers happened to fall in their laps. It seems to happen every year in Baltimore, and it did this year, too. Flowers was the only player on Boston College’s roster who could scare defenses, and still nobody could stop him. He’ll do the same thing with the Ravens. Last season he caught 78 passes for 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns to earn first-team All-ACC honors for the second time. Flowers finished with 200 career catches for 3,056 yards and 29 touchdowns.”
Touchdownwire’s Doug Farrar: Grade — A+++
“Flowers did more with less at quarterback than any other top receiver in this class, and with the newly-resigned Lamar Jackson throwing him the ball, Flowers should finally have a real chance to show all he can do. Flowers can win from all points of the field, and he’s the first legitimate WR1 the Ravens have had since… well, it’s been a long time. Flowers was my best receive in this class, and I think that the NFL is where he’ll really be able to shine as he couldn’t in college.”
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.: ‘Ravens among biggest winners from Round 1’
“What a day for Baltimore, which locked down Lamar Jackson for five more years and then got its quarterback a playmaker in Flowers, one of my favorite prospects in this entire class. He’ll make Jackson’s life so much easier. He can run every route, and he’ll dominate out of the slot. Yes, the Ravens signed Odell Beckham Jr., but that was just a one-year deal. They have plenty of room for Flowers. The Baltimore wide receivers combined for 248 receiving yards when lined up in the slot last season, fewest in the NFL. Flowers plugs a big hole.”
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter: Grade — A
“The re-signing of Lamar Jackson to a five-year, $260 million contract got the Ravens off to a nice start on Day 1. They added to everyone’s happiness when selecting Flowers, a downfield threat and zone-eater over the middle who can snatch a quick throw from the former MVP and take it the distance. Once again, the Ravens stayed patient and got a good player.”
PFF’s Editorial Team: Grade — Average
“Flowers is shifty, knows how to separate and complements the Ravens’ wide receiver room well. He can replace the production they lost from trading Hollywood Brown last year, with Flowers racking up 500 receiving yards on throws 20-plus yards downfield in 2022.”
ESPN’s Todd McShay: Ravens a ‘contender who helped themselves the most’
“I loved the Baltimore Ravens’ pick of Boston College receiver Zay Flowers. Over the course of a month, Baltimore took a pass game with a lot of questions and gradually addressed the issues. It signed Odell Beckham Jr. earlier this month. It extended quarterback Lamar Jackson hours before the draft. And it picked up one of the most elusive receivers in the draft class at No. 22. The Ravens lacked a true threat at receiver — they ranked last in the NFL with 1,517 wide receiver receiving yards last season — and this offense is now borderline scary. This is a legit Super Bowl contender.
SB Nation’s JP Acosta: Grade — A-
“His skill feels kind of redundant with Devin Duvernay in the room, but Flowers will give the Ravens offense some more explosiveness in their passing game. The Ravens needed juice so bad they signed DeSean Jackson last year. Flowers is an explosive receiver who can get downfield in a hurry, and open up the offense for guys like Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews. With QB Lamar Jackson back in the fold, this offense could be cooking with grease now.”
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: Grade — B
“They needed to get a young receiver for their new offense under Todd Monken. I like Jordan Addison more, but this is a good move. Flowers is a really good player who was hurt by bad quarterback play at Boston College.”
Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer: Grade — A+
“The Ravens getting Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor wisely didn’t stop them from getting the ideal versatile big-play threat to help newly highly paid Lamar Jackson, playing well off 2021 first-rounder Rashod Bateman and tight end Mark Andrews. The Chargers’ miss is their gain, as Flowers can be their inside-outside version of Lockett.”
Baltimore Beatdown’s Vasilis Lericos
While defensive purists, myself included, will lament the opportunity to draft a toolsy lockdown cornerback with the pick, Flowers checks a bunch of boxes. With the twitch to get off press, body control to shake defenders at the top of the stem and explosiveness to make defenders pay after the catch, Flowers offers inside-out positional versatility and splash play potential.
The Ravens arrow is pointing firmly up. A focus on acquiring pass defenders throughout the reminder of the offseason will propel the Ravens to the upper echelon of potential Super Bowl combatants.