The Arkansas Razorbacks had a season they would mostly like to forget, but they had one of the more talented pairs of defensive ends in the SEC. Chris Smith is now in the NFL as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars but Trey Flowers is back for his senior campaign and looking to have even more success. While he is predominatley a base end that has experience playing on both sides, he has been used as a standup rusher and as a rush tackle in some situations as a change up to their defensive look.
Flowers was a terrific run defender and that should not change this season. The reason is not only does Flowers use good technique and been consistent with it, but he also shows a great deal of passion in that area of the game as with everything he does. That energy and effort he brings to the field is infectious and makes people want to believe in him as a player.
Flowers has demonstrated the ability to be a dynamic pass rusher, but the flashes he showed as a junior need to become more commonplace as a senior. One of the aspects that could allow Flowers to go from a 5 sacks last year to double digits this year is the fact he is capable of using several different techniques to beat blockers. If he can get more comfortable and natural with when and how to use them, it could produce big results. The biggest opportunity for improvement could be with his first step. Flowers also could have had more in terms of raw statistics sacking the quarterback he did a better job breaking down once he gets into the backfield.
Statistically, Flowers had a solid but not a great junior year. On film, he was better, but he has opportunities to get better and cash in as a pass rusher more often, which could make him a complete threat off of the edge. It appears as though most of the adjustments Flowers needs to make are relatively small and if he had a productive offseason in the weight room, he could potentially be a breakout star this season. Flowers is the rare type of player that could go from being a day three type prospect (which is where Smith was drafted) into being a day two type prospect with a chance to go in the first round if he can put it altogether this year.
Vitals & Build
- Born Aug. 16, 1993 (Will be 21 at time of the 2015 NFL Draft, 22 for his rookie year)
- 6’4″ 267lbs (Listed)
Flowers has good size in terms of his height, overall length and his weight. He has a strong build with a thick trunk. Flowers demonstrates the ability to generate a lot of power in a hurry.
Conversely, he can be a little stiff at times and have trouble with flexibility. His balance is adversely impacted by his pad level and his agility can look worse than it is at times as a result. Flowers has good burst, but his overall speed is average, which is fine for what he does. His hips are not particularly fluid and he is at his most effective when he is able to work the same direction they are going.
His motor is great and his effort level is non stop. If he is on the field, he is coming with everything he has, trying to make second and third efforts in situations and making plays in situations where other players may have motored down and are thinking about the next snap.
Flowers has some options when it comes to how he wants to approach his body and weight going forward. The most likely option is that he continues to gain weight and strength and becomes more of a prototypical base end. He could also opt to try to slim down slightly and become lighter on his feet to be more able to play outside linebacker in addition to end as he tries to make himself more marketable to the NFL. In either scenario, Flowers has the frame and potential to continue to fill out and get better physically as he makes his transition to the next level.
Snap Anticipation & First Step
His ability to anticipate the snap is good, but there is the occasional play where he will jump early and get off sides as he tries to be on the snap count. That might be in part because his first step off of the ball is pretty marginal. Flowers was routinely one of the slowest if not the slowest of the Razorback linemen to get off of the ball.
This should be an area where Flowers puts a substantial amount of focus. He can shed blocks and defeat opponents, but if he can get quicker with his first step, he can gain an immediate advantage on opponents and dictate how the play is going to go immediately. Combining that with the rest of the tools he brings to the table, it could make a substantial difference in his production.
Flowers has shown he can be really effective when it comes to shedding blocks as he does a great job using his hands for the most part. He has shown he can have quick as well as heavy hands and will keep opponents off balance, depending on the situation. Against the run, Flowers likes to hit the opponent with a good punch that can knock them off balance. At that point, he usually just throws them out of his way and tries to make a play.
When it comes to the pass, Flowers can certainly use a jolting punch to then finish them or slip past on his way to attack the quarterback. He can also use quick hands to slip the opponent or sell one before going with the other to defeat the opponent.
Regardless of the situation, Flowers leads with or plays behind his hands and the results have been good as well as consistent. It is something he has put effort into and there is nothing suggest that will change this season.
Flowers is an excellent run defender. He does a great job of executing his job to help teammates make plays, but is also able to stack and shed to make his own. Even against the best competition, Flowers has shown he can be a playmaker.
Flowers does a good job of working to reestablish the line of scrimmage in the backfield and putting the opponent at an immediate disadvantage. At the very least, this forces the ball carrier to change their path to work around him. When he is able to shed and make a play on the ball carrier, this makes it so he is able to get a tackle for loss or next to no gain.
Perhaps the least appreciated part of Flowers as a run defender and really a defensive lineman in general is how well he is able to find the football. Even in situations where he will get turned around, he locates the ball quickly and is able to adjust and attack it. As he is negotiating the block up front, he has the awareness of keeping tabs on the football, so that he can set up blockers or give himself an advantage.
- Flowers uses his strength to get the offensive tackle off balance, then simply throws him out of his way before making the tackle on the back, stopping him for a minimal gain.
- Flowers and Jake Matthews have a pretty good battle here, but Flowers is just able to win with pure effort and still get in on the tackle for little gain.
With a productive offseason, the amount of plays that Flowers is able to make as a run defender should only increase. His statistics may decrease as teams work to scheme against him, but his impact on plays should be steady, if not improve. Additional functional strength should only be magnified because of Flowers’ technique.
Flowers has shown he can get pressure on the quarterback and make plays. The issue for Flowers is not only in the fact that he needs to create more opportunities, but make the most of the opportunities he does create. A lot of this comes down to breaking down and making it so he can react to a quick move from the quarterback. Some of it is also in the angle he takes to the quarterback.
One of the reasons Flowers is promising as a pass rusher is that he does have a few different moves he is able to use to beat blockers and put pressure on the quarterback. His bread and butter is using power, just he does against the run. Flowers is able to knock opponents off balance at times and then get past them to try to make a play.
Additionally, he can also sell power and opt to win with quickness. When he is able to cause opponents to set and brace for power, he is able to slip by them, does a good job of trying to knock their hands down and then pursues the play. There are also some examples where Flowers will sell speed and convert to power, potentially catching an opponent off balance and then is able to drive them back and get rid of them.
- Flowers shows speed, converts to power catching the opponent off balance, gets rid of him and then tackles the football as he sacks the quarterback.
- Flowers just gets up field, slaps the opponents hands down and flattens out to the quarterback, getting the sack and causing a fumble.
Lastly, Flowers does showed a pretty good spin move. He does not use it too often, but it could be something that makes more of an appearance this season.
- Flowers uses the spin here basically off of instinct in reacting to the double team when he feels the back come to help, spins inside and makes the play.
Flowers does a great job of tackling the football as he secures the sack, which has made it so he not only gets the sack but can also create turnovers. This is not simply a matter of luck. When Flowers is able to get to the quarterback, he uses his arms to not simply wrap the opponent but he comes down on both arms with force, pinning them against his body and forcing the quarterback to try to win purely on the grip strength of his throwing hand. The result is that not only a reliable result in terms of securing the sack, but making it extremely difficult for the opponent to hold onto the ball.
- Here, Flowers is able to get into the backfield catching Ogbuehi flat footed, does not take an ideal angle and then fails to break down and is unable to adjust to the quick move from Manziel, who is able to escape and scramble for a few yards. He would have been better served to set his line at the upfield shoulder, which would have made it more difficult to escape.
Flowers has the tools to be a good pass rusher and just needs to increase the amount of times he can make an impact in that aspect of the game. He was certainly better than his stats would indicate, but he does have the ability to be a double digit sack player this season and needs to consistently more problematic for opponents.
Flowers does have some experience dropping into coverage, though Arkansas was not terribly ambitious with how far he went. For the most part, he is simply dropping into a short zone and hoping to force to fool the opponent early with the ability to make a play.
- Flowers does not look pretty in any of this, but just makes a great play on a bad throw caused by pressure up front.
Flowers does not have much fluidity in his hips and will tend to struggle if asked to do much more than he has been already short of a major change to his body. Nevertheless, he shows pretty good awareness and will do his best in the area he has.
The clips were provided by DraftBreakdown.com