One of the Chargers’ biggest flaws of their offense in 2022 was the lack of threatening speed. Whether for plays over the top of the defense or around it, the Bolts didn’t have much to intimidate opposing teams and that certainly was the case when they lost wideout Jalen Guyton for the majority of the season.
That need has been ringing loud and clear throughout the draft world which is why it’s no surprise that one of the latest 2023 mock drafts from Pro Football Network has the Chargers selecting Boston College speedster Zay Flowers with the 21st-overall pick.
If it wasn’t clear all season, the Chargers are bereft of dynamic weapons in the passing game,” writes author James Fragoza. “And you won’t find a receiver as dynamic as Zay Flowers outside of Round 1. He owns a similar horizontal skill set to the Dolphins’ Jaylen Waddle, with the deep-ball tracking you don’t often see in smaller WRs.
I’m personally a big fan of this pick simply do to the mention of Flowers’ “horizontal” skill set. While the Chargers got a lot of vertical explosive plays out of guys like Guyton and former wideout Tyron Johnson, the Bolts haven’t seen a receiver affect defenses horizontally since they employed Tyrell Williams.
The magic of Williams’ ability is that he could effortlessly turn a five-yard crossing route into 10 or 15 yards due to his elite speed. He made a lot of plays for Philip Rivers near the end of his career and getting Justin Herbert anything close to that skill set would be a massive breath of fresh air in this offense.
Zay Flowers is unfair. Top 5 WR. pic.twitter.com/CvthWL4ZPm— Cam Marino (@MarinoNFL) January 17, 2023
At 5’10 and 175 pounds, Flowers will never be the largest player in the field but the electricity and poise he plays with make him seem larger than life at times. As one of the fastest players whenever he’s on the field, Flowers presents a threat to any defense that doesn’t come correct in their pursuit angles. In the video above, you can see Flowers catch a short pass over the middle, make a few defenders miss (and look silly), before breaking it for a big gain up the left sideline.
This is the type of play that has long been missing from the Chargers passing attack.
In his final collegiate season, Flowers hauled in 78 passes for 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns which set a new single season record. His efforts made him a semifinalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award (nation’s top wideout) and a First-Team All-ACC selection.
Most WRs in this situation are just trying to get both feet in and secure the catch— sfDynastyFF (Rob) (@Quintorris_) January 20, 2023
Zay Flowers is thinking YAC while the ball is in the air, phenomenal sideline awareness
Zay simply moves differently pic.twitter.com/Akm0247fXK
Do you believe the Chargers should spend a first-round pick on a wide receiver this year? What other positions do you feel are more important early in this year’s draft?