Trey Flowers teamed up with Chris Smith last year to form one of the better defensive end duos in the Country. And while Smith has moved on to the NFL, Flowers decided to return to the Razorbacks for another season of college football.
Considered by many to be one of the better defensive prospects in the SEC, I wanted to get a good baseline feel for Flowers’ game as he is set to begin his senior season. I came away from my tape study with a positive impression, but I don’t think he’s quite where Chris Smith was at this time last year. Smith was ultimately selected by the Jaguars in the 5th round.
Trey Flowers, DE, Arkansas | #86 | 6040, 267lbs | Sr.
-Has started 26 games, appearing in 36 overall;
-Has totaled 12 sacks and 32 TFLs during his career to date;
-Named 2nd Team All-SEC in 2013;
-Was an honor roll student in ’11 and ’12, majoring in economics.
Physically, Flowers is an impressive guy who looks thicker than his reported measureables suggest. The Razorbacks’ team website lists him at 267lbs, but he appears about 10lbs heavier on tape. His weight is pretty well-proportioned, and he has a thick base which is a plus when projecting his ability to hold his ground versus the running game. He presents with adequate to plus length which will be an asset moving forward.
Athletically, Flowers is the tightest of the players I’ve evaluated so far. He possesses below-average lateral agility and is extremely tight in his hips. He runs like a player that is much older, and/or worn down, and that’s a concern for me moving forward. His lack of flexibility is also on display when he’s in backside pursuit, as he simply lacks the explosion and quickness to get down the line of scrimmage and make a play from behind. He needs to focus on this area of his game to be considered a prospect capable of being selected before Day 3.
Flowers presents his most value as a run defender. He is a smart and heady defender who displays plus awareness. He maintains the integrity of his assignment and rarely gets caught off balance versus misdirection plays. He has racked up a bunch of tackles for loss as a result of his keen understanding of play design and development moreso than any (+) athletic traits. That said, it’s not a negative. His ability to decipher a play’s design and its aiming point is the kind of skill that generally separates guys that can play versus guys that are just athletes. Coaches will love his ability on first and second down.
As a pass rusher, Flowers presents with only average skills and his sack numbers are a bit inflated. While he has managed 12 collegiate sacks so far, nearly half of them occurred in only 2 of his 26 starts. And it’s pretty clear why. He’s not a guy that will get a quick jump off the snap, and while he has some pretty refined hand play, he’s simply not quick or explosive enough to consistently threaten the offensive tackle. He is strong, however, and can (from time to time) shed the tackle out of his way and pressure the passer. On back-to-back plays versus Cedric Ogbuehi, Flowers flashed his power potential by shedding the potential top-10 pick with ease. He has a “want” as a pass rusher that is encouraging, and he does have some rush moves in his arsenal. He simply needs to display a quicker get-off and burst to be considered a real pass rushing threat.
Flowers is a lot like Anthony Chickilo, who we took a look at here. He’s going to absolutely have a role in the NFL, it’s just that he won’t be a guy that makes his living by sacking the quarterback. He’s a good run defender who wins from the neck up, which usually ends up being more than half the battle in the pros. He was assigned a third-round grade by the advisory committee last year, and I think that’s a bit generous. He looks more like a mid-Day 3 guy from his 2013 tape, but if he can show improved flexibility and movement skills, there’s no reason to think he can’t become a “wanted” player on day 2.