In a season seemingly filled with head scratches and letdowns, the New England Patriots finally gave fans something to be excited about by hiring old friend and new offensive coordinator, Bill O’Brien.
The Patriots still have some coaching roles to fill, but their next focus in taking this team back atop the AFC East is the NFL draft in April. It seems way too early to think about the NFL draft, but this is what organizations that miss the playoffs do.
Patriots coaches will get a great look at prospects during the 2023 Shrine Bowl
On Thursday, February 2, members of the Patriots coaching staff will lead the West team in the 2023 edition of the East-West Shrine Bowl. The rosters for the Shrine Bowl were just announced. Patriots’ wide receiver coach Troy Brown will serve as the head coach of the West team, while assistant wide receivers coach Ross Douglas will serve as play caller and offensive coordinator. The defensive side will be led by Patriots cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino and safeties coach Brian Belichick.
This will give Patriots’ staff an excellent look at some of the top prospects heading into this year’s NFL draft, and one of those prospects is Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers. Everyone in New England agrees that the Patriots need offensive line help and should be focusing on a first-round tackle. But with the potential exit of Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Algohlor through free agency, wide receiver will also be a severe need early in the draft.
Getting to know NFL prospect Zay Flowers
If you’ve never seen Zay Flowers play, you’re not the only one. He was the lone bright spot in a boring Eagles offense in a season where Boston College finished a dismal 3-9. But make no mistake, Zay Flowers is a legitimate top-of-the-draft wide receiver prospect. The 5’10 lightning quick receiver is an elite route runner who has star quality run after catch ability. He’s a nightmare to tackle in the open field and has plus, plus hands and pass catch-ability. And for being in such an unreliable offense, his numbers are impressive.
Flowers continues to draw comparisons to Terry McLaurin, which is phenomenal. But when I watch him run his stop or dig routes and make contested catches in traffic as an undersized wide receiver, I cannot help but be reminded of Julian Edelman.
And just like Edelman, Flowers also possesses excellent kick and punt return abilities. There are other elite wide receivers in this draft, but if Flowers is still available for the Patriots No. 46 overall pick in the second round, the local product may be the perfect new weapon for Bill O’Brien and Mac Jones.