May/27/15 06:50 AM Filed in: Ereck Flowers
There are reasons many mock drafts had Ereck Flowers being taken in the middle of the first round or later. Opinions around the league varied greatly on the Miami offensive tackle, who was selected ninth overall by the Giants in the NFL Draft.
The common knock is that Flowers' technique is flawed. He's raw, critics say. He has massive amounts of work to become a finished product.
That was reiterated in this week's Monday Morning Quarterback, where Greg Bedard pinch-hit for Peter King. This was the first item in the "Ten Things I Think I Think" section:1. I think the Giants are fooling themselves if they think the pectoral muscle injury suffered by left tackle Will Beatty, which reportedly could keep him out until at least October, won't have huge ramifications. Beatty had developed himself into a very capable left tackle, and now the Giants are left with either Justin Pugh (who underwhelmed so much at right tackle he had been penciled in at guard) or Ereck Flowers, the ninth overall pick out of Miami earlier this month. I recently spent the weekend at the Coaches of Offensive Line (COOL) Clinic in Cincinnati, and the reviews on Flowers were not good. "Some of the worst technique I've ever seen in a player drafted that high," said one veteran NFL line coach. "He played for one of the best coaches, Art Kehoe, and his technique was terrible," said another coach. "That tells me he doesn't take coaching well. That's a big problem because all of the recent tackles have struggled making the transition. It now takes them until Year 3. You can thank the spread and the [collective bargaining agreement] for that."
Let's address this point by point, beginning with the premise that the Giants are going to suffer without Beatty. This is an assertion that is hard to argue. Plug-and-play left tackles don't grow on trees. They don't grow in college anymore, either.
As the veteran line coach who slammed Flowers explained, it's become more and more difficult for rookie tackles to enter the NFL and enjoy instant success. It's going to be difficult for Flowers to succeed, especially if forced to protect quarterback Eli Manning's blindside in Week 1. And yes, the Giants preferred to move Pugh to guard.
As for the comment about being "the worst technique I've ever seen in a player drafted that high," that is somewhat eye-opening. Lots of linemen enter the league with serious technique flaws. The NFL is a completely different game. Linemen are generally drafted based on their natural size, strength and ability.
If Flowers really is that far behind the rest of the highly-picked linemen, it's worrisome. What was said by the veteran line coach is not the kind of comment you expect to see often about the ninth-overall pick.
There is obviously an offensive line coach out there who doesn't think very highly of Flowers. In fact, he's probably not alone. There are most certainly others out there like him.
There are others who share the Giants perspective (all rookie linemen are raw and have technique flaws) as well. The Rams reportedly were very interested in Flowers at No. 10 and another executive and scout with NFC teams weren't the least bit taken aback when I suggested Flowers as the Giants ninth pick a month before the draft.
It just goes to show the variance in opinions on the Giants' first-round pick. Only time will tell who was right on their evaluation.
The final point that was addressed by Bedard was that Flowers didn't take coaching well. To be honest, it's an interesting philosophy. One is left to wonder why Flowers' technique is considered raw when his coach is well respected in NFL circles.
Having met and talked with Flowers, I'm not sure that it's a matter of not taking coaching well. He seems to be a humble kid interested in learning. One theory could be that he came to Miami so incredibly raw that what he is now is already a massive improvement from when he arrived in Coral Gables.
Again, only time will tell. In the meantime, file this report away for three years. Then we'll see which camp had it pegged right.