With the NFL Draft just over a month away, the New England Patriots’ personnel department has been busy traveling the country to attend different Pro Day workouts. On Friday however, a small contingent of Patriots’ staffers needed to travel just 20 miles north to Boston College.
The BC pro day included just a handful of prospects, but a full house was on deck to watch projected first-round pick wide receiver Zay Flowers. For New England, that included director of scouting Camren Willians and personnel coordinator Brian Smith.
Flowers passed on the agility drills after testing earlier this month at the NFL Combine, where he ran 4.42-second 40-yard dash, but took the field for workouts. The former Eagle appeared to showcase his short-area quickness in the passing attack while ended his session returning punts.
Zay running a corner-post. pic.twitter.com/gOSTFqblZp— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) March 24, 2023
Zay closes out Pro Day returning punts @newftbj @BCEagleAction @NFLDraft @Rivals pic.twitter.com/CnIOiZnsy3— Kevin J. Stone (@kstone06) March 24, 2023
As for a fit in New England, Flowers is the exact kind of receiver the Patriots’ group of pass catchers in currently lacking. After adding a pair of big bodied possession receivers in free agency to pair with DeVante Parker and Hunter Henry, New England needs a pure separator and explosive playmaker at every level.
That is where Flowers thrives, as he is a tough cover in man coverage and easily picks up yards after the catch. The main knock, however, is his 5-foot-9 frame which could limit him to the slot. However, the belief here is that he could play a limited role along the boundary if needed.
Time will tell when Flowers will hear his name called come April, but an all-around impressive pre-draft process likely has catapulted him into the first round. Pick No. 14 could even be in consideration for New England.
After his on-field workouts, Flowers met with the media where he shared he has not had much communication with New England since the Shrine Bowl. As the Patriots spent the week with him in Las Vegas, another meeting might not have been necessary.
Beyond Flowers, New England got a look at a pair of defenders who could generate buzz on Day Three of the NFL Draft. That included linebacker/safety hybrid Jaiden Woodbey and defensive end Marcus Valdez.
New England also spent their time at the Shrine Bowl with Woodbey on their roster. The Patriots mostly used him as in the box during the Shrine Bowl, but the hybrid defender lined up in multiple spots for the Eagles’ defense last season. Unlike Flowers, he did take part in the athletic testing and posted a 4.67u and 4.72u 40-yard dash times.
Unofficial 4.67 for @JaidenWoodbey @BCEagleAction @newftbj pic.twitter.com/yI7SQqtRnN— Kevin J. Stone (@kstone06) March 24, 2023
Valdez is a super experienced defensive end who was a five year contributor at Boston College — playing at least 300 snaps every season. He reportedly showcased his versatility during on-field drills taking snaps at defensive line, linebacker, and even catching passes in a fullback role.
Onwuka & Valdez getting after it in defensive drills @BCEagleAction @newftbj @NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/TInswJlp1u— Kevin J. Stone (@kstone06) March 24, 2023
With roughly two more weeks of Pro Day workouts remaining, New England’s coaching staff and personnel department will quickly be back on the road.