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Transcripts: WR Zay Flowers Introductory Press Conference (4/28)

Eric DeCosta opening statement: "Welcome, everybody. So, as I said last night, we're just very excited to have Zay [Flowers] come in and be our first-round pick this year. As I said last night, it was early in the process that we identified Zay as a guy that we thought would bring a lot of value to this club. His playmaking ability, who he is as a person, his grit, his determination, his background … All of those things kind of factor in, and he's the guy. We're fired up to get him. I think our fan base is going to love him; the community is going to love him. Welcome, Zay Flowers."

John Harbaugh opening statement:"Same thing, just to echo: [I] couldn't be more excited on behalf of all the coaches, players. Everybody's fired up to have you here. Welcome to Baltimore."

Zay Flowers opening statement:"Thank you. I'm excited to be here. I want to thank [head] coach Harbaugh and 'EDC' [executive vice president & general manager Eric DeCosta] – right, that's what they call you? (laughter)I'm going to call you 'EDC' – for giving me this opportunity. I think with Lamar [Jackson] and the guys on the outside, we have something special, and we can build here, and we can get back to what the Baltimore Ravens were."

Zay, you said last night that from your visit here, you had a good feeling about this place. What was it, can you elaborate? (Morgan Adsit)

Zay Flowers: _"The last time I visited here, we barely even talked about football. It was just [that] everybody in the building was genuine. A lot of the places I went to, I had to put on kind of like a front. When I got here, everything was just pure; it was just genuine. I was playing basketball; I beat a couple people. _(laughter)I enjoyed that visit."

Everyone complements your hard-working nature and your drive. What do you attribute that to? When was that instilled in you? (Kyle Barber)

_Flowers: _"I got it from my dad. I used to see him get up and go to work at 4 a.m. in the morning; he did that every day Monday through Friday, and then he would get up Saturday, wash our clothes at the wash house, cook everybody breakfast and take us to football games. Then, do the same thing Sunday, and then go back to work Monday. So, just seeing him do that, it gave me my drive."

You talked about the other weapons on the outside. We saw that you facetimed WR Odell Beckham Jr. last night from Kansas City. When did that relationship start, and is he somebody that you're looking forward to playing with? (Ryan Mink)

_Flowers: _"We have the same trainer back in Florida; my receiver coach trains him, too. He's watched some of my videos, and he was like, 'We have to get together and work out.' I think a couple of weeks ago, I called him and I was like, 'Where are you thinking about going?' He was like, 'Either the Ravens or the Giants,' I think. I was like, 'That's crazy because both of those teams, I'm predicted to go to.' Then, we land on the same team. So, I can just use him to learn because it's going to be my first year; I can learn everything from him and just play with him. It'll be fun."

What did it feel like walking back into the building today? You've been here before, but what was it like walking in here as a Raven? (Shawn Stepner)

_Flowers: _"It felt great walking back into the building because everybody that I saw the first time, it felt like I've known them for a couple years, and I only knew them for what – a day? So, just being somewhere where I can be comfortable, and be myself, and still work hard and play football is a perfect spot for me."

Last night, you said you had watched those viral high school videos of QB Lamar Jackson where he pointed at the defender and walked into the end zone. How fired up are you to play with him, and did you ever think that he would be throwing you the football in the NFL? (Rocco DiSangro)

_Flowers: _"No, I didn't think so, but they let me fall to him, so there's going to be a lot of plays being made on Sunday, Monday or Thursday – whatever day we're playing on. So, just being able to play with him and have all these weapons next to me, it's just going to improve my game."

There's a lot of pressure that goes with being a first-round pick. When you look at this roster – you mentioned WR Odell Beckham Jr. – you have WR Rashod Bateman, another first-round pick, and TE Mark Andrews. How exciting is it that you can be yourself, but there isn't the expectation that you have to be 'the guy' on Day One? (Luke Jones)

_Flowers: _"I'm going to have the guys next to me, so I feel like if we all do our part and do what we're capable of, we're going to have a very good team."

You're known for breaking tackles and yards after the catch. How are you still able to do that when you're not one of the bigger guys? (Jamison Hensley)

_Flowers: _"I was never one of the bigger guys, so I always had to find a way to do it. I'm going to try to continue to find a way to do that."

Who's in the picture in the medallion around your neck? (Kyle Goon)

Flowers: _"It's my mom." _(Reporter: "Why is that important to have in this moment?")She started us off playing football, so I felt like I needed her with me last night, and I have her with me today. It's just a little flower. It has my brothers and sisters in each pedal – 14 of us."

How did coming from a big family kind of sharpen you and your competitiveness? Like you said, you're not the biggest guy, but you play physical. Is that in part because of having that big family? (Ryan Mink)

Flowers: _"Believe it or not, my brothers are tall. Some of them are like 6'2", 6'1". I guess I got the shorter end. _(laughter)We were competitive at everything. We would play basketball; the little brothers played the big brothers. We played football, and it would be the same thing, harassing each other. So, it was just meant to be that way, and it worked out perfect."

What would you say to your mom in this moment, and your brother, Martin, if you could? (Brian Wacker)

_Flowers: _"Thank you for always being there for me and supporting me through everything and having my back. So, I appreciate them for that, and being my biggest fans."

What is that dynamic like of being one of 14 siblings? (Morgan Adsit)

_Flowers: _"It's fun, actually. Like, you're never shy; you can't be shy because you're going to always be talking because somebody's always in the house; you're always around somebody. So, everybody is going to have their own personality, whether it's funny, quiet or you're just running around playing."

You've watched NFL football and played big time college football, but what do you anticipate the next level to be like, and how you'll be able to transition to the NFL? (Mark Viviano)

_Flowers: _"I just feel like everybody is going to be smarter, faster and working hard. So, I just have to do that times two and continue what I was doing."

Being from South Florida, obviously a lot of talent comes out of there. This team has a lot of talent from South Florida. What do you anticipate that does for the atmosphere being in this building and playing with those guys? (Kyle Goon)

_Flowers: _"Down in South Florida, when you play with people you know, it just boosts how you want to play. It just makes you make more plays. So, being able to play with Lamar [Jackson] and other playmakers around me, it's just going to make me player harder, work harder and try to make more plays to help the team."

Some of your teammates were highly rated recruits, and you were not that coming out of high school. Does that fill you with some sort of pride – seeing them as your peers in the NFL now? (Kyle Goon)

Flowers: "I did have a chip on my shoulder because of that. I mean, I still have it, because I felt like I was the underdog. So, I just play with a chip, and I'm going to continue playing like that."

You mentioned last night the connection that you felt with the Ravens at the East West Shrine Bowl, when they were looking at you pretty extensively. How do you think you fit, scheme-wise, here, and where do you feel like you can have the biggest impact? (Brian Wacker)

Flowers: "In my opinion, I feel like I can play outside, inside, special teams – wherever you need me to make a play. If I could touch the ball any type of way to try to make a play, I feel like I'll be good. Whether it's jet sweeps, shallow crosses, deep balls, punt returns, I feel like I can be used in any way."

Because you played with RB Kenny McIntosh in high school, who played at Georgia, did you get a chance to watch much of offensive coordinator Todd Monken's offense last year, and do you have any kind of familiarity with what he brings? (Jonas Shaffer)

Flowers: "I know at Georgia, it was a lot of running. (laughter)But when you've got a team like that in college, you're going to continue running the ball to win a National Championship. At this level, you've got to be able to do both."

Former WR Steve Smith Sr. has spoken highly of your skills. How aware are you of him? And are you comfortable with any kinds of comparisons that people may want to draw between you and somebody of his ability? (Mark Viviano)

Flowers: "Yes, I'm pretty comfortable with it, because he was a smaller guy in the league that was playing bigger than his size, and I'm going to be a smaller guy in the league, and I'm going to have to play bigger than my size."

Who is the toughest corner you've ever faced? And is there a guy you've looked at and watched for a while that you would love to match up against? (Jeff Zrebiec)

Flowers: "I don't think any corner gave me a problem in college, but I don't really have … I want to face all of them [in the NFL], honestly."

You really had four full seasons of college football, and a lot of guys don't. How much do you think that is going to help you? And did you give any thought, even last year, to coming to the NFL? (Cliff Brown)

Flowers: "I gave it a little thought [last year], but I felt like I needed to put more stuff on tape – like competitive catches, blocking and just all the small stuff that I didn't do the year before that I was able to do this year."

John, how pleased are you with how you guys said straight out early this offseason, "We're going to upgrade this wide receivers room?" With this latest addition, how pleased are you with how the pieces have come together? (Jeff Zrebiec)

John Harbaugh: "Yes, I'm really excited. I feel like there was a plan in place and everybody – coaches, scouts, [executive vice president & general manager] Eric [DeCosta] and all his group, [director of player personnel] Joe [Hortiz] – did a great job scouting all these guys. We had a really good handle on the board. I feel like you led that, Joe, and did a great job with that, and we kind of knew who we liked. Zay was our top-rated receiver, I would say, 100% consensus, right, Joe? [It was] 100%; everybody had him as our guy, and for him to be there for us and just kind of fill out that room was a great blessing."

When you scout all these players, for you, when did you remember seeing WR Zay Flowers? Was it on tape? How did that occur? (Jamison Hensley)

Eric DeCosta: "I think last year, [I] first [saw Zay Flowers]. I thought he was explosive last year. We talked about him last year, and we do … Our scouts do a great job of looking at potential juniors that might enter the Draft. It's not like years ago when we used to start that process after the Combine; we start that process in the fall. So, we watched Zay [Flowers] at length two years ago [and we were] excited about him then. One of the things this year – and I remember [that] I liked Zay on tape – [was director of college scouting] David Blackburn, our college director, was going out to the East West [Shrine Bowl]. Zay was there for one practice – just one practice – [and] he went out, and he put on a show, and that was it. And I asked David – because David was there – and I said, 'How did he look?' David said, 'Fast.' (laughter) 'Best guy there,' and that was basically it. That was the scouting report. That means a lot – when you send out one of your best scouts and he comes back with that type of assessment. And as I said last night, we had a bunch of guys watch Zay and the other receivers, and it was clear-cut, it was a knockout victory this week. Everybody thought that Zay would bring the most to the table for us this year."

Did your connections to Massachusetts and the Boston area give you any insight that maybe others might not have had about WR Zay Flowers? (Jonas Shaffer)

DeCosta: "Not too much. I've been down here now for 28 years; I don't have as many contacts up there now as I used to. I still have an affinity for the State, for the Commonwealth, but I'm a Baltimore guy now."

I'm curious how nervous you were getting as you were getting closer to your pick, and you knew the Seahawks were interested in possibly taking a wide receiver, and you knew the Chargers could take a wide receiver? Were you getting nervous that they could take WR Zay Flowers? (Ryan Mink)

DeCosta: "You always get nervous, but I've learned that there's different levels of nervousness, and the last two years have shown to me that there's always nervousness times two, times three. And so, the Draft is the Draft. We plan, and we practice, and I've learned from the all-great, powerful 'Oz' [executive vice president Ozzie Newsome] to always be prepared on Draft day. And so, you just get ready for every possible scenario that can happen, and of course, the best, we got; some years you don't, but you just move on. You have to have a plan. It goes quick. It was a little bit nerve-racking, because things were falling very nicely for most of the round, and then all of a sudden, boom, boom, boom, you start to see that run. And whenever there's a run in the Draft, it's an emotional thing, [and] other teams start to not panic, but they start to think, 'OK, this is our chance if you want to fill that position.' You always worry about … I really wasn't so much worried about, necessarily, us not getting Zay [Flowers] where we were, except that I was worried about teams behind us coming up over us to get Zay. I was a little bit anxious about that. And fortunately, it didn't happen, and we lucked out."

John, so that's executive vice president & general manager Eric DeCosta's assessment of how he handled things. From an outsider's view, how do you think he handled things? (Jamison Hensley)

Harbaugh: "He [executive vice president & general manager Eric DeCosta] handled it poised. He's stone-cold in there, man. He's got ice-water in his veins. And I just saw [director of college scouting] David Blackburn sitting back there with his whole crew. He was just giving me the eye the whole night back there, like, 'We're going to get our guy. We're going to get our guy; don't worry.' So, you knew all along, David. What did you know?" (Director of College Scouting David Blackburn: "I didn't know, Coach." – laughter)"It was meant to be, man."

DeCosta:"How I am in the Draft Room is different than how I am on gameday – different animal." (laughter)

Harbaugh: "We all hope so." (laughter)

Reporter:"Eric, is that better or worse?"

DeCosta:"For the Draft, it's better."

Harbaugh: "He's slightly calmer at the Draft."

DeCosta:"It's better. We would have the worst Drafts of all time if I was as distracted and emotional as I am during games."

When you talked to (offensive coordinator) Todd Monken about joining your staff, was this a scenario you possibly played out for him? Or is this even better than he had hoped? (Gerry Sandusky)

_Harbaugh: _"Oh man, we weren't really talking about exactly which receiver we were going to take. We were kind of talking about scheme. But once you have a feel for the scheme, then you start putting the players into the scheme. Zay [Flowers] just jumped to the front of the class. He's going to be a great fit. Talking to our players, our players are excited already about the two weeks we've had a chance to install the scheme, so far, and I know Lamar [Jackson] is going to be excited when he gets here. When he sees this guy [Zay Flowers] and Odell [Beckham Jr.] walks in the room, you already have Nelson [Agholor] here and James [Proche II] is already working and 'Dev' [Devin Duvernay] is already working. It's just going to be a lot of fun."

Did you ask Lamar [Jackson] at all about the receivers in this draft class? Did he have a – I don't want to say a say – but did you get input from him about who he would like to have?_ (Jeff Zrebiec)_

DeCosta: "We talked back in January. I went down to visit with Lamar [Jackson] back in January and we talked about the college receivers. One thing about Lamar [Jackson], if you're from South Florida, he's going to know you."

Harbaugh: "He knows who you are."

DeCosta: "He gave me a list. He gave me a full breakdown of every receiver in the Draft from South Florida. And he has strong opinions on all these guys, too. He's very loyal to the players from that part of the country and so he has a lot of opinions on Zay [Flowers] and he was very, very excited that we got him last night."

John, a lot of receivers on this roster are in that 5-10 to 6-1 range, not like a true X position-type guy. What are kind of the advantages of maybe some of that sameness in the receiver room and maybe why are you not concerned that you don't have a conventional Y receiver? (Jonas Shaffer)

Harbaugh: "We had that conversation for sure. It's a really good point, and we just decided that we were going to go with the guy that we thought was the best guy for us. We just decided to go not position specific – the idea that we're going to move guys around. We have – every guy is versatile. Every guy can play out there at X to your point. Every guy can play Z. The way the offense is getting to be built now, it's not this side and that side. It's not a set guy and a motion guy anymore – guys are on the ball, guys are off the ball. He goes in motion. He runs a jet sweep. He's on the ball. He gets into the slot. Somebody is coming back the other way. That's just the way the offenses are evolving now. It's fun. There's a lot more moving parts to it. We're probably moving away from that a little bit, not that we wouldn't have loved – we like every kind of guy – but you get the best guy for you at this time and you make the call. This is the guy, so he's going to be a great fit with those other guys. I think it's going to be tough to defend [us]. They [opponents] are going to have to make a lot of choices out there along with the running backs, and tight ends, and the quarterback and a strong offensive line. I'm pretty fired up about it."

Zay, how would you describe Lamar's [Jackson] legend in South Florida and what he means to young guys who grow up playing football there and now look up to him? (Mark Viviano)

Flowers: "Down there, Lamar [Jackson] is a legend. Everybody is a Lamar fan. You're going to see people wearing his jersey no matter where you go. Everybody is going to talk about him and – I hear though that South Florida has the best athletes – why not get a receiver from down there."

Harbaugh: "Just ask anybody from South Florida." (laughter)