The Baltimore Ravens decided to spend their 2022 first-round pick in a wide receiver from Boston College. Zay Flowers became a member of the Flock Nation last spring and some pundits didn't quite understand the move. How wrong were they.
On Saturday the Ravens played their first preseason game ahead of next season and defeated Philadelphia 20-19 on their way to their 24th consecutive win in summer games.
Zay Flowers appeared in just 10 of all Ravens offensive snaps on the day, but that was enough for the rookie to drive Philly's defenders mad. While Flowers didn't get an "official" target registered in his stat line, he actually got a backward pass thrown his way that he turned into a one-yard gain.
Flowers also got a couple more targets that were erased from his line as they happened in plays that ended up in defensive penalties. Can't complain!
Of course, it could have been better. But it could have been much worse, or even end with the rookie injured on a meaningless game played in August. It has happened before, but it did not happen on Saturday. And hey, HC John Harbaugh didn't use any of his first-string starters at all or gave them many reps, so this wasn't that surprising.
According to Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus, the Ravens used Flowers outside and inside, both on the boundary and in the slot position. Obviously, that comes with an asterisk as none of Odell Beckham, Rashod Bateman, nor Nelson Agholor were deployed at any point through Saturday's outing.
Flowers is expected to be the main slot receiver of the Ravens for the 2023 season, but the fact that Todd Monken and Harbaugh are already using him outside is very promising and encouraging for him as that'd mean he'll have an even bigger role in the offense.
On top of everything, it was reported on Friday that Flowers had signed a sponsorship deal with sports apparel brand Under Armour. Dov Kleiman broke the news on Twitter first on Aug. 11.
Kris Rhim of The Baltimore Banner wrote about it ahead of Saturday's game, revealing that Flowers "chose Under Armour over Nike, Adidas, and Battle after meeting with brands since the NFL Combine."
As Rhim points out in his story, it's worth noting that Under Armour is a Baltimore-based brand with ties to the Ravens organization. The fact that Flowers ended up getting drafted by the Ravens might have helped him make his final decision to ditch all other offers in favor of signing with UA.
"When I got to Baltimore, I saw how deep-rooted Under Armour’s ties here were… It’s exactly how I want to be viewed," Flowers said, confirming that was in fact the main reason for him picking UA. "Baltimore through and through."