Before Thursday, Boston College football had not had a wide receiver taken in the NFL Draft since 1987, when the Dallas Cowboys selected Kelvin Martin with the 95th overall pick. In almost 90 years of the NFL Draft, BC has never had a wide receiver taken in the first three rounds of the draft.
But on Thursday night, Zay Flowers changed that narrative forever. The Baltimore Ravens selected the former BC wide receiver and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native—who owns the school record for total receiving yards, total receptions, and total touchdown receptions—with the 22nd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Flowers declared for the NFL Draft on Dec. 1, 2022.
“This is what I expected—this is what I worked for,” Flowers said of his preparation for the NFL Draft at BC’s Pro Day on March 24, 2023.
For the first time since Luke Kuechly and Anthony Castonzo were selected in back-to-back NFL drafts in 2011 and 2012, BC boasts a first-round selection in the NFL Draft in back-to-back years. The Los Angeles Chargers took Zion Johnson 17th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Ever since the 2022 season, in which BC went 3–9, ended, Flowers said he has only had one mindset: prepare.
“I’m gon’ always just try to have my expectation high because I put the work in for it,” Flowers said. “It’s a moment I’ve been waiting on, just being able to train, don’t really have school, put work in, and play football, and, like, prepare for my dream.”
And he did just that—accomplish his dream.
During his training for the draft, Flowers combined private workouts with multiple NFL wide receivers, performed at the NFL Combine, fine-tuned his skills for Pro Day in Chestnut Hill, worked out for multiple NFL teams, and made his case to be at the top of his wide receiver draft class. Flowers was Mel Kiper Jr.’s top-ranked wideout heading into the draft, and had a prospect grade of 6.46, according to NFL,com.
But without a stellar season in 2022 amid a quarterback change and offensive line inconsistencies, as well as stepping stones in years prior at BC, his case would not have been as solidified.
The Chestnut Hill product took a big step forward after teaming up with Notre Dame transfer and quarterback Phil Jurkovec in 2020, garnering First-Team All-ACC recognition with a team-high 892 receiving yards and nine scores on 56 receptions during his sophomore season. An injured Jurkovec decreased his production in 2021—Flowers registered just 746 receiving yards on 44 receptions—but he was still named Third-Team All-Conference. BC won six games in both seasons.
Despite reports that Flowers was offered six figures in NIL deals to leave BC after 2021, Flowers stayed his course with the Eagles, and said he did so with pride for the program. Flowers took off in his final season on the Heights as a senior.
In 2022, Flowers amassed 1,077 receiving yards on 78 receptions—tying BC’s single-season receptions record—and 12 receiving touchdowns, a BC program record and tied for fifth in FBS that season. Flowers earned Third-Team All-American honors by the Associated Press, All-ACC First Team honors for the second time, and was named a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the top wideout in the nation. By all measures, Flowers undoubtedly cemented himself as the best wide receiver in program history.
Just four years ago, Flowers was only a three-star prospect coming out of high school. Listed at 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, Flowers lacked size and exposure. He had zero offers from any of the in-state blue blood programs. But four years down the line and 22 pounds of explosive muscle later, he’s ready for his NFL journey in Baltimore, where Flowers will join the 2021 League MVP Lamar Jackson and Odell Beckham Jr. in the wideout room.
“That sound great, that sound excellent,” Flowers said after being drafted. “I’m ready to get to work. Got the fan base out here, let’s go get some wins. … That’s explosive. I’m going to, anytime I touch the ball, I feel like I can score.”