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Zay Flowers Looks Forward to Joining Forces With Lamar Jackson  

(From left to right) WR Zay Flowers & QB Lamar Jackson
(From left to right) WR Zay Flowers & QB Lamar Jackson

When he first heard about Lamar Jackson's contract extension, Zay Flowers was excited for Jackson, a fellow South Florida native. 

Flowers was far more thrilled on Thursday night, when he was drafted with the 22nd overall pick and became Baltimore's newest offensive weapon. The explosive wide receiver from Boston College will join forces with Jackson in a revamped wide receiver room that also includes Odell Beckham Jr., Nelson Agholor, Rashod Bateman, and Devin Duvernay. 

Flowers sounded like he was ready to take the field with Jackson - immediately. 

"[I'm] ready to get to work; ready to get some wins; ready to go play with Lamar; ready to go play with 'O'; ready to go build this receiving corps all the way up," Flowers said. 

"Those are two guys (Jackson and Beckham) that are explosive, that can make plays at any time. You know what Lamar can do, and you know what Odell can do. You've seen flashes of it; it just so happened that he got hurt; but now he's back and it looks like he's 100 [percent]. Then, I'm coming in. Then, we have 'Bate' on the outside, then we have J.K. [Dobbins] in the backfield. It's going to be fun." 

Flowers grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., not far from where Jackson grew up in Pompano Beach. Their South Florida connection should help them bond, and Flowers remembers watching Jackson on television as a dynamic college player at Louisville. 

"My first time seeing something about Lamar was when he made the high school move where he like pointed at them and walked into the end zone," Flowers said. "When I found out that was him, I was like, 'Oh, yes. He's going to be special when he gets to the league.'" 

Head Coach John Harbaugh believes Flowers will help Jackson and the entire offense put pressure on opposing defenses in new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken's attack. 

"He's catches it all three levels," Harbaugh said. "He goes deep. He runs intermediate routes. And then his run-after-catch is special. He can catch it, take two or three steps, and really accelerate away. We've got a versatile receiving group." 

General Manager Eric DeCosta was impressed not only with Flowers' talent, but with his tenacity and determination to succeed. Flowers is one of 14 children in his family. 

"We evaluate players, but we also interview players," DeCosta said. "Zay was a player, I have to say, I haven't come across many more impressive prospects. His story, his resiliency, his ability to handle things was very impressive. One of his motivations for coming back to Boston College, I believe, was to get his degree. I think that speaks to who he is as a person. 

"Our goal this offseason, and one of the things that I was focused on, was adding to the receiver room. When somebody gives us a challenge, we're going to attack it."

Flowers had been on the Ravens' radar since his junior year at Boston College, and the more they learned the more they liked. He was the most dominant offensive player at the Shrine Bowl in January, where he bonded with Ravens Quarterbacks Coach Tee Martin who was scouting. 

"I built a relationship with Coach Tee Martin early," Flowers said. "At the Shrine Bowl, we just sat on the sideline. We were just chopping it up the whole time. He [was] just picking my brain, like, 'Why do you think you can play outside? Oh, so you think you're a dog?' 

"I like that kind of competitiveness and him challenging me, and I built a connection with him right there." 

Flowers will be determined to build a similar connection with Jackson. His ability to run routes as both an outside or slot receiver fits into Monken's preference for versatile players who can be used in multiple formations. 

The Ravens are confident that Flowers' 5-foot-9 size won't be a hinderance at the NFL level, because he has always played bigger than his measurements. He has top-end speed (4.42 40-yard dash) with shifty moves, and the acceleration to corral long passes or turn short throws into long gains. 

"You watched his film, you saw such an explosive player on tape," Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz said. "He can play inside and out, great acceleration, playmaker with the ball in his hands, makes big plays." 

Flowers views Baltimore as a perfect situation to display his talents. 

"I can do whatever you need me to do," Flowers said. "I can run every route you give me; I can separate; I can make competitive catches. Whatever you have to do to play on the outside, I feel like I can do, and I can do it at a high level."

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