Why Zay Flowers Is the Top Wide Receiver at the Shrine Bowl

The best all-star games attract the best talent, and there's no one more talented at the 2023 Shrine Bowl than Boston College WR Zay Flowers.

As one of the premiere college football all-star games, the East-West Shrine Bowl attracts top-tier talent every season. Yet, there was a noticeable reaction of amazement from around the football world when Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers accepted his invite to Las Vegas.

The reason is simple. Flowers is the best pass catcher that you’ll see at any all-star game this year.

Zay Flowers Is the Top Wide Receiver at the Shrine Bowl

Describing Flowers as the best wide receiver you’ll see at an all-star game in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle might sound hyperbolic. The Shrine Bowl has done an excellent job of bringing talented pass catchers to Las Vegas, with several big names from all levels of college football expected to showcase their skills over the next few days.

However, Flowers is a different beast entirely.

In a deep pool of talented players at your position, it can often be challenging to differentiate yourself from your peers. Fortunately for the Boston College wide receiver, he’s spent his life attempting to stand out in a crowd.

The diminutive Ford Lauderdale native — Boston College lists Flowers at 5’10” and 172 pounds — developed his craft in the talent-prosperous and highly competitive state of Florida. Some people never make it out, never live out their dreams.

Flowers knows that only too well. His mother died from a head injury when he was five, and his brother was shot while he was still playing high school football. Flowers watched his father work every hour to provide for his large family group. That work ethic has powered Flowers to become the very best he can be, which is one of the very best wide receivers in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The evidence of why Flowers is the top wide receiver at the 2023 Shrine Bowl is clear for all to see. As he ascends in the class even before he’s set foot on the practice field of the all-star event in Las Vegas, anyone and everyone who has been around the Boston College football program knows the talent that the nation is about to witness.

MORE: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College | NFL Draft Scouting Report 

It was there in his Eagles debut against Virginia Tech in 2019. A truly dynamic playmaker, the Floridian phenom tallied 116 all-purpose yards, including a 33-yard touchdown. Averaging 10.9 yards per play across a multitude of rushing and receiving snaps, it was just the beginning of something beautiful for BC.

It was there in his sophomore season when he became only the second-ever Boston College WR to earn first-team All-ACC honors. It was there in his junior season when he averaged 17.0 yards per catch while racking up 746 yards on just 44 receptions.

Ask former Clemson CB Andrew Booth Jr. about Flowers’ talent. Last season, the BC wideout ran rings around the 2022 NFL Draft second-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings. For multiple analysts, myself included, Booth was the CB1 of last year’s class, and yet the star attraction of the 2023 Shrine Bowl had his wicked way with Booth all game long.

Yet, national respect — at least from a draft perspective — evaded Flowers at the end of his junior season, proving as elusive as the diminutive Boston College wide receiver in the open field. As a result, he opted to return to Chestnut Hill for his senior season. It was a major coup for the Eagles and a major opportunity for Flowers.

In 2022, Flowers ripped up the Boston College record books. Despite offensive difficulties, the senior pass catcher set career-highs for receptions (78) and receiving yards (1,077), and his 12 touchdowns set the benchmark for all Eagles wide receivers that come after him.

The single-season performance encapsulated everything that Flowers has meant to Boston College for the past four years. He has been the elite playmaker at the program, an unstoppable menace in the open field who leaves Chestnut Hill as the all-time leader in career receptions (200), career receiving yards (3,056), and career receiving touchdowns (29).

MORE: Top 10 Wide Receivers at the 2023 Shrine Bowl

Perhaps a plethora of program records doesn’t move the needle for you as it pertains to Flowers being the top wide receiver at the 2023 Shrine Bowl. After all, scouting isn’t about program records and statistics.

Scouting is about how you win on the field, and it’s about how that translates to the NFL. Thankfully for Flowers — not for the first time in his life or football career — the Boston College wide receiver knows how to stand head and shoulders above his competition to make his presence felt in a way that screams success.

Flip on any BC game over the past four years, and it’s immediately obvious that Flowers possesses an almost unique brand of dynamic athleticism that is practicably unstoppable.

That might sound like further hyperbole, but there is a laundry list of college football linebackers and defensive backs who are nursing shattered egos to go alongside their broken ankles following an encounter with the Boston College wide receiver.

There might not be another wide receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft class, let alone the Shrine Bowl, who has the ludicrous change-of-direction ability that Flowers possesses. With his instantaneous ability to plant and re-route and contortionist-esque body control, he’s exceptionally elusive.

If the old adage that “speed kills” holds true, the hopes and dreams of many an NFL Draft DB prospect may be about to perish in Las Vegas. While he doesn’t possess the otherworldly speed of the very fastest in the game, he can comfortably take the top off a defense. Comfortably.

MORE: 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl Roster

Meanwhile, his near-instant acceleration and ability to temper his route running to deceive defensive backs make Flowers a dangerous three-level threat who can be used from multiple alignments. His experience as a motion piece should ensure immediate NFL usage when the Shrine Bowl facilitates a springboard to early NFL draft capital.

The biggest knock on Flowers’ draft stock to date is that his size inhibits his ability to be a genuine pass-catching threat in the NFL. True, a 5’10” and 172-pound wide receiver competing on the boundary isn’t ideal.

Yet, the BC wide receiver showed this season that he can corral the ball in traffic with a combination of excellent ball tracking and utilization of strong hands. Is there work still to do? Sure. But, isn’t that true for any prospect emerging from college? Nobody enters the NFL as the perfect prospect.

With his 2023 NFL Draft scouting report, Flowers has the makings of a first-round wide receiver. The Floridian phenom has started appearing in first-round mocks by “prominent” NFL Draft analysts.

Shrine Bowl Director Eric Galko has been confident in this opinion for as long as I have. It’s the reason that he wanted the Boston College pass catcher in Las Vegas.

The best all-star games attract the best talent, and there’s no doubt that’s exactly what Xavien “Zay” Kevonn Flowers is.

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