Zay Flowers

WR Notes: Flowers, Mingo, Patrick, Johnson

One of the top storylines entering the 2023 season for the Ravens is their new-look receiving corps. First-round rookie Zay Flowers will be counted on as a key member of the team’s passing game, and further details recently emerged regarding how the organization viewed him leading up to the draft.

Baltimore used the No. 22 pick on Flowers, making him one of four straight wideouts selected on Day 1. The Boston College product was the subject of trade talks with teams looking to move past the Ravens to secure Flowers, but general manager Eric DeCosta elected to remain in place. Part of the reason for doing so was his evaluation of the 5-10, 172-pounder in the winter.

After seeing Flowers in the East-West Shrine Bowl, the Ravens confirmed their thinking that Flowers was the top receiver in the draft, ESPN’s Jamison Hensley writes. That makes their decision to avoid trading down (despite not owning a 2023 second-round pick) clearer, and could add further to the expectations surrounding Flowers as a rookie. The 22-year-old has drawn rave reviews from local and national media alike, so he will be a player to watch closely once the regular season kicks off.

Here are some other wide receiver notes from around the league:

  • Panthers rookie Jonathan Mingo is listed as a starter on the team’s first depth chart, as noted by Joe Person of The Athletic (subscription required). The latter adds that such a development is a slight surprise, given the relatively quiet offseason the second-rounder has had to date. If Mingo does indeed land a first-team spot amongst veterans Adam Thielen and DJ Chark, the likes of Laviska Shenault and Terrace Marshall would be relegated to backup duties. Shenault, a Swiss Army-type player since his arrival in the league with the Jaguars, is in line to handle more rushing duties this season. Marshall, meanwhile, is assured of a roster spot under new head coach Frank Reich after he played sparingly for much of his first two seasons in Carolina.
  • The Broncos have once again been hit hard by availability issues at the receiver spot, including the Achilles tear suffered by Tim Patrick. The 29-year-old missed all of last season due to a torn ACL, and the same will hold true of the 2023 campaign. Fortunately, his recovery has started well. Patrick underwent successful surgery, as noted (on Twitter) by 9News’ Mike Klis. His ability to return to full health will be something to monitor closely, as he is under contract for 2024 but does not have any guaranteed compensation scheduled for that year.
  • Second-year Seahawks wideout Cade Johnson suffered an injury scare during the team’s preseason opener on Thursday. He was taken to hospital for evaluation, but he has been released (Twitter link via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times). Johnson, 25, is still in concussion protocol, however, bringing his availability for the remainder of the preseason into question.

Ravens Sign Round 1 WR Zay Flowers

Part of a record-setting receiver run in the first round, Zay Flowers joined the other three wideouts chosen consecutively in signing his rookie contract. The Ravens rookie agreed to terms on his deal Wednesday, Adam Schefter of tweets.

Flowers’ No. 22 slot deal will be worth $14MM, with Schefter adding the Boston College product will receive his entire $7.2MM signing bonus this year. This draft’s Nos. 20, 21 and 23 picks — Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Quentin Johnston and Jordan Addison — had previously agreed to terms on their four-year rookie deals (feat. fifth-year options).

A four-year contributor at the ACC school, Flowers will be part of a revamped Ravens receiving corps this year. Flowers joins Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor as outside additions expected to boost Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson-piloted attack. With Flowers under contract, the Ravens have now agreed to terms with all six of their 2023 draftees.

Flowers attracted interest from other teams, with the Giants making an effort to trade up for the shifty pass catcher. Leery of both the Giants and Chiefs, the Ravens did not overthink their strategy and made Flowers the draft’s third straight receiver selected — behind Smith-Njigba and Johnston. This draft featured a record four consecutive wideouts going off the board in the first round.

While Flowers is now the fifth first-round wideout on the Ravens’ roster, joining Beckham (2014), Agholor (2015), Laquon Treadwell (2016) and Rashod Bateman (2021), he is also the franchise’s fourth first-round receiver pick since 2015. The Ravens have repeatedly tried to staff their receiving corps with first-rounders, taking Breshad Perriman in 2015, Marquise Brown in 2019 and adding Bateman two years ago. Perriman did not finish out his rookie contract in Baltimore, while the team dealt Brown to Arizona for a package headlined by a first-round pick. Bateman is coming off a foot injury that ended his season in October.

At Boston College, Flowers led the team in receiving for three straight seasons. In 2022, the 5-foot-9 target caught 78 passes for 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns. Not much in the way of precedent exists for 5-9 receivers going in Round 1. Only two other wideouts shorter than 5-10 went in the first round in the 21st century. Brown was one of those, with Tavon Austin (Rams, 2013) being the other. The Ravens are betting big on Flowers, who they attempt to give Mark Andrews better support now that Jackson is signed to a record-setting extension.

As rookies prepare for their first training camps, here is how Baltimore’s 2023 draft class looks:

Round 1, No. 22: Zay Flowers, WR (Boston College) (signed)
Round 3, No. 86: Trenton Simpson, LB (Clemson) (signed)
Round 4, No. 124: Tavius Robinson, LB (Ole Miss) (signed)
Round 5, No. 157: Kyu Blu Kelly, CB (Stanford) (signed)
Round 6, No. 199: Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, OT (Oregon) (signed)
Round 7, No. 229 (from Browns): Andrew Vorhees, G (USC) (signed)

WR Rumors: Ravens, Chiefs, Giants, Mooney, Lockett, Chargers, Falcons

Although the Ravens gave Lamar Jackson the biggest contract in NFL history — in terms of average annual value — their top two outside investments this offseason have gone to wide receivers. Following their Odell Beckham Jr. signing, the Ravens chose Zay Flowers 22nd overall. Baltimore took calls from teams during the first round, and GM Eric DeCosta indicated teams wanted to move up. Leery of losing their chance to add a first-round-caliber wideout, the Ravens passed on offers.

We had gotten some calls from some teams behind us. It didn’t take a rocket scientist … to tell me that they were coming up for receivers,” DeCosta said during The Lounge podcast (via “We decided to stand pat at that point because we knew there was a legitimate risk that we were going to lose the guys that we coveted. The Giants being one of those teams. The Chiefs were behind us as well.”

Both teams showed interest in wideouts, with the Chiefs being connected to moving up for Jordan Addison. The Giants made an effort to trade up for a receiver — with their target believed to be Flowers — but after the Vikings chose Addison at No. 23, Big Blue moved up one spot (to No. 24) for cornerback Deonte Banks. DeCosta also expected the Chargers to pass on Flowers at No. 21, indicating the Bolts generally like “the bigger receivers, the route runners.” The biggest of this year’s first-round receiver lot, 208-pound Quentin Johnston, went to the Chargers. The Ravens have added Beckham, Flowers and Nelson Agholor to their receiver group, one previously headlined by Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay. Both holdovers are coming off season-ending foot injuries.

Here is the latest receiver news from around the NFL:

  • Darnell Mooney missed the final five games of the Bears‘ 3-14 season due to an ankle injury. The three-year starter underwent surgery, with reporting he had sustained ligament tears. But Mooney is on track to return to football work fairly soon. The contract-year wideout has a chance to be cleared before the end of Chicago’s offseason program, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Should that benchmark not be met, Mooney will be expected to be full-go by training camp. Mooney totaled 1,055 receiving yards in 2021 and will be expected to join D.J. Moore as Justin Fields‘ top targets this season, one that will potentially set him up for a lucrative extension or free agency accord.
  • The Chargers did not retain DeAndre Carter this offseason; the veteran returner/auxiliary wideout signed with the Raiders. They are expecting the other TCU wideout they drafted — fourth-rounder Derius Davis — to pick up the slack in the return game, Lindsey Thiry of notes. Davis posted the second-fastest wide receiver 40-yard dash time (4.36 seconds) at the Combine and tallied six return touchdowns (five on punts) with the Horned Frogs from 2018-22. While Brandon Staley is not limiting the 5-foot-8 rookie to return duty, the Bolts did draft Johnston and are also still rostering Josh Palmer and Jalen Guyton as Keenan AllenMike Williams backups.
  • The Seahawks created some cap space recently by restructuring Tyler Lockett‘s contract. By converting $8.5MM of Lockett’s base salary into a signing bonus, the Seahawks created $5.7MM in space (per ESPN’s Field Yates). As Lockett’s 2023 cap hit drops to $11MM, his 2024 and ’25 numbers balloon to $26.7MM apiece. Lockett is tied to his third Seahawks contract, a four-year, $69MM deal agreed to in April 2021.
  • Former Eagles second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside received a tryout opportunity at the Falcons‘ recent rookie minicamp, according to Fox Sports’ Greg Auman (on Twitter). Arcega-Whiteside has been unable to establish himself as a pro, being tried at tight end and then traded to the Seahawks before last season. The Seahawks cut the Stanford product in November. He remains unsigned.

Giants Discussed Moving Up In Round 1, Had Trade-Down Parameters In Place With Bills

No team was more closely connected to this year’s first-round-caliber wide receivers than the Giants, who hosted the group on “30” visits and met with the 2023 class’ top pass catchers at their pro days. But Big Blue left Round 1 with cornerback Deonte Banks. It does not appear the team was conducting a smokescreen effort regarding receivers.

Holding the No. 25 overall pick to start the draft, the Giants explored multiple trade-up avenues, Dan Duggan of The Athletic notes. One of them involved conversations with a team holding a mid-first-round pick, with Duggan adding those talks may well have centered around Zay Flowers (subscription required).

The Giants met with Flowers, and a draft-day report indicated they were the highest on the Boston College prospect and USC’s Jordan Addison at receiver. After Flowers went off the board to Baltimore at No. 22, a source informed Duggan that Addison would have been the likely Giants choice at 25. Once Minnesota nabbed the former Kenny Pickett Pitt target at 23, the Giants traded fifth- and seventh-round picks to move up one spot — via the Jaguars — for Banks.

GM Joe Schoen described the mood around the time Addison was picked as “pretty tense.” The run on receivers stopped at the Vikings’ No. 23 pick, and no other corner went in the first round. While the Giants could have stood pat and selected Joey Porter Jr., they obviously placed a value gap between he and Banks, who made the Giants one of his many pre-draft visits. Schoen confirmed (via the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy) Banks was not on the Giants’ radar at this point last year, due to his 2021 season being cut short by a shoulder injury. The Maryland prospect will be expected to start opposite Adoree’ Jackson as a rookie, and with Jackson in a contract year and not expected to be extended, the rookie resides as the Giants’ new cornerstone at the position.

Schoen and Bills GM Brandon Beane held trade discussions — centered on the Giants moving back — as well, per’s Albert Breer, who confirms Schoen also told his former boss he was considering a move up the board. The Bills and Giants worked out trade parameters for a Buffalo trade-up, Breer notes, with the AFC East team targeting tight end Dalton Kincaid. Shortly after the Vikings’ Addison pick, Schoen informed Beane he was trading up to No. 24 and the New York teams’ trade would not commence. The Bills also traded up with the Jags, who moved down twice and chose tackle Anton Harrison.

The Giants standing down regarding a trade-up for a wide receiver leaves more questions about its wideout room compared to how it would have looked if Flowers or Addison became Big Apple-bound. The team still re-signed Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard and added Parris Campbell and Jamison Crowder, to say nothing of the big-ticket Darren Waller addition at tight end. The Giants circled back to their receiver interest with third-rounder Jalin Hyatt, who also made a pre-draft visit.

Hyatt will bring deep speed to the equation and should be expected to play a key role early, though the Giants have amassed some pass-catching depth after last season’s plans went awry quickly.

Ravens Take WR Zay Flowers At No. 22

The Ravens signed Lamar Jackson to a record-setting deal earlier today, and now they’re handing him another offensive weapon. The Ravens are using the No. 22 pick on Boston College wideout Zay Flowers.

Baltimore was among several teams who were slated to pick toward the back of the first round and thus in range to add a wideout. They did extensive work on the Day 1 options, including Flowers. He put himself in the first-round conversation with a career-year in 2022.

Last season, Flowers posted a 78-1,077-12 statline. He led the team in receiving for the third consecutive year and was once again the focal point of their offense. He took advantage of his opportunities and established himself as one of many high-end slot receivers at the top of this year’s class.

The 5-9, 182-pounder is joined by several top WRs available in facing questions about his frame and ability to remain productive at the NFL level. Flowers showed a skillset including abilities at all three levels of the field, though, which should allow him to carve out at least a modest role early on in the Ravens’ new-look receiver room.

Baltimore has made a number of moves at the position this year. The team has added Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor on one-year deals in free agency, giving them a pair of veterans to pair with an otherwise young group. The Ravens had been mentioned as a suitor for DeAndre Hopkins in a trade, but the selection of Flowers likely takes them out of that pursuit. The latter will give the team a long-term option at the position, however, allowing him to develop a rapport with Jackson for years to come.

WR Notes: Flowers, Vikings, Chiefs, Giants, Addison, Bucs, Johnston, Robinson, Moore

Zay Flowers does not appear likely to fall out of the first round, and his final pre-draft meetup looks to have gone well. The Chiefs organizing a Flowers-Patrick Mahomes workout in Texas has led to interest on the defending Super Bowl champions’ part, Albert Breer of notes. They are not alone. The Giants and Vikings are Flowers fans as well. Previous reports also indicated the Bears and Chargers are intrigued by the speedy Boston College product, despite his 5-foot-9 stature. Flowers would be an atypical first-round pick, with Marquise Brown (2019) and Tavon Austin (2013) the only receivers chosen in Round 1 at 5-9 or shorter in the 21st century. But Flowers made a number of pre-draft visits and, coming off his only 1,000-yard college season, will be one of the first receivers off the board.

The Vikings released Adam Thielen earlier this year and have K.J. Osborn going into a contract year. Considering Justin Jefferson‘s likely extension price, Minnesota paying multiple wideouts notable veteran sums might be difficult. The Giants have performed an extensive examination on the top wideouts available.

Here is the latest from the rookie and veteran receiver landscape:

  • Regarding the Giants‘ receiver studies, Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports indicates they are also believed to be considering USC’s Jordan Addison in Round 1 (Twitter link), indicating Addison might be ahead of Flowers on the team’s board. A Pitt transfer who finished his career with Heisman winner Caleb Williams, Addison spent time with the Giants during the pre-draft process. The team adding Parris Campbell and Jamison Crowder and re-signing Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton — along with the 2022 second-round selection of Wan’Dale Robinson — certainly does not point to this Giants regime mandating big-bodied wideouts. While Flowers is 5-9, Addison is only 5-11. One of these two stepping in as a potential No. 1 target would round out an interesting receiver room.
  • Shifting to a taller target, the Buccaneers are believed to be interested in 6-3 TCU alum Quentin Johnston,’s Tony Pauline offers. The Bucs would make for an unexpected Johnston destination, as they have Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and 2022 free agency addition Russell Gage on the roster. Gage, however, underwhelmed in his Tampa Bay debut, while Evans is entering his age-30 season. The Chiefs are also interested in Johnston, with Pauline confirming previous reports Kansas City is both pro-Johnston and interested in trading up from No. 31.
  • Being moved to the Steelers, Allen Robinson will be prepared to work with yet another starting quarterback this year. But the well-traveled wideout will have a delayed start for on-field Steeler work. The team will hold its new receiver out of voluntary offseason workouts, per The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly (on Twitter). Robinson is recovering from late-season foot surgery. He missed the Rams’ final seven games last season due to injury.
  • Ryan Poles confirmed D.J. Moore was indeed mandatory in the Bears‘ March trade with the Panthers. “You go back and forth and have those conversations that go over a couple of weeks, and there are some non-negotiables that you say, ‘Well, I need to have this in the package.’ DJ was that for us,” Poles said during an interview with former NFLers Charles Tillman and Roman Harper on the NFL Players: Second Acts podcast (h/t Pro Football Network). “We wanted to add more playmakers to this roster. We wanted a player that can really help Justin [Fields] be successful. So that’s kind of [what] we stuck with and went hard on that, and it worked out.” The Bears also discussed Brian Burns and Derrick Brown with the Panthers but ended up prying away their No. 1 receiver in the deal for the top pick.

Draft Rumors: Commanders, Chargers, Giants, Bengals, Bears

It’s the eve of the 2023 NFL Draft, and connections are being made left and right. Every team has hosted several prospects and done their fair share of homework. Here’s a few things we’re hearing in the hours leading up to the draft:

  • The Commanders can go in a lot of directions at the exact midpoint of the first round. They’ve been connected to offensive tackle and cornerback prospects in most situations. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, though, Washington’s executive vice president of football/player personnel Marty Hurney is a big advocate for Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. The team has committed to last year’s fifth-round pick Sam Howell as their starting quarterback for 2023, as well as bringing in Jacoby Brissett as an experienced backup. Drafting Richardson would likely be a sit-and-learn situation while either Howell or Brissett man the starting spot under center.
  • The Chargers have been rumored to be looking ahead in this year’s draft towards next year’s needs, according to Breer. Even though wide receiver is clearly not a need with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Josh Palmer, Williams may end up as a cap casualty after this season with a pending $32.46MM cap hit in 2024. This could lead to Los Angeles getting ahead of that hole and drafting a wideout in the first round this year. Breer hears the team really likes Boston College receiver Zay Flowers.
  • Another team who could possibly be looking to cover a future contract situation, the Giants are reportedly fairly high on Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs, according to Breer. With contract negotiations with veteran Saquon Barkley being reported as tenuous, it’s hard to imagine general manager Joe Schoen further stirring the pot with another first-round running back. It would provide the team with a backup option if negotiations with Barkley turn sour, though.
  • The Bengals ranked 29th in 2022 for team sacks and are reportedly looking for more pass rushing help on the interior defensive line, according to Breer. At the end of the first round, there’s only so many options. Georgia’s Jalen Carter surely won’t still be around at No. 28 overall. Clemson’s Bryan Bresee has some strong tools but is expected to need to improve his pass rushing arsenal. Pittsburgh’s Calijah Kancey is the only real answer here. With 14.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss over the last two years, the diminutive tackle projects as a discount Aaron Donald. If Kancey isn’t available or not what the Bengals are looking for, they could trade back or just wait for someone like Auburn’s Colby Wooden in the third or fourth round.
  • Lastly, the Bears have been frequently tied to offensive line prospect Peter Skoronski out of Northwestern. It’s unclear whether they like Skoronski as an improvement at tackle or a new starter on the inside, but if he’s available by the time the tenth pick rolls around, it’s hard to imagine Chicago passing up the nearby offensive lineman.

Draft Notes: Flowers, Eagles, Bills, Ravens

The Bears have already moved back once in the first round, sending the No. 1 pick to the Panthers for a package that included the No. 9 pick in Thursday’s draft. While the front office was able to restock their draft capital, the team could still look to move back a second time. According to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe, the Bears “probably would like to trade down” as they pursue more picks.

Volin suspects that the organization likes Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers but has no intention of taking him in the top 10. By trading back in the first round, Ryan Poles and co. can continue to collect assets while also selecting their preferred prospect in a more palatable spot. Volin also suggests that the front office could simply look to deal some of their non-firsts to trade into the back end of the first round, with the writer suggesting a package of picks No. 53, No. 61, and No. 64.

The Bears made a clear commitment to Justin Fields when they traded out of the first selection, eliminating any shot at adding one of the draft’s top QB prospects. The team’s apparent pursuit of Flowers emphasizes their desire to surround Fields with as many talented playmakers as possible, and it wouldn’t be shocking if the organization adds a handful of skill players before the draft is complete.

More notes leading up to Thursday’s draft…

  • A league executive told Peter King of Football Morning in America that the Eagles “love” Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith, and the writer believes there’s a chance the organization selects the prospect with the 10th-overall pick. While many pundits have assumed the Eagles would select someone like Northwestern lineman Peter Skoronski, King notes that the organization generally hasn’t used high draft picks on offensive guards. Further, the team’s grouping of edge rushers (Brandon Graham, Haason Reddick, Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat) are pushing an average age of 30, so it wouldn’t be a shock if they add some youth to the grouping.
  • The Bills like North Carolina wideout Josh Downs, according to King. Scouts believe the receiver could start in the slot from Day 1, providing Josh Allen with another talented pass-catcher outside of Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. Downs averaged nearly 100 yards per game over the past two seasons.
  • A number of teams believe the Ravens will be eyeing wide receivers when it’s their turn to pick at No. 22, according to Albert Breer of While the organization added Odell Beckham to a grouping that also includes Rashod Bateman, the team could be looking for another burner to pair with Lamar Jackson. Breer points to Flowers as a “potential interesting fit.”
  • The Chiefs have made calls about moving up from the No. 31 pick, according to Breer. While teams believe Kansas City is simply looking for a “discounted way” to move up the board, Breer notes that the organization wouldn’t make such a move unless they had their eye on a particular prospect. Once again, Flowers comes up as a potential target, and Breer also points to Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs, Tennessee receiver Jalin Hyatt, and Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith as options.

Chiefs High On Quentin Johnston, Arrange Patrick Mahomes-Zay Flowers Workout

Zay Flowers logged some travel miles during this pre-draft visit period. The Boston College prospect has met with the Titans, Ravens, Patriots, Raiders, Cowboys, Giants and Bills. While Flowers did not have any other visits booked, the Chiefs will use the final day for pre-draft visits to have their franchise centerpiece gather additional intel.

The Chiefs arranged for a Flowers workout with Patrick Mahomes in Texas, according to Adam Schefter of (on Twitter). Flowers visited the Titans on Tuesday and was not planning any additional meetings, but the Chiefs are in need at wide receiver and figure to be on the radar for Flowers — depending on how far he falls in Round 1.

Evaluators are split on the 5-foot-9 Flowers and USC’s Jordan Addison, per’s Tony Pauline, who notes some teams do not have first-round grades on either. Both undersized pass catchers have been popular on the March-April interview circuit, but this year’s receiver draft class has not produced the same type of rave reviews as the past three years did.

Ranking just outside the top 20 in the view of ESPN’s Scouts Inc. and’s Daniel Jeremiah, Flowers played four seasons at Boston College and upped his draft stock with his first 1,000-yard year — a 1,077-yard, 12-TD showing — in 2022. The diminutive target’s explosiveness has caught certain teams’ eye, though the Chiefs might not be out of range for him at No. 31. The Chiefs, who hold 10 picks (two fourth-rounders), traded up in last year’s first round to select Trent McDuffie.

Flowers is not the only wideout the Chiefs are being tied to as the draft nears. They are “very high on” TCU’s Quentin Johnston, per Pauline. Standing 6-3, Johnston joins DeAndre Hopkins as big-bodied wideouts on the Chiefs’ radar. The Chiefs are among the many teams who brought in the former Horned Frogs standout. Johnston finished last season with 1,069 receiving yards, helping the Big 12 program make an unlikely appearance in the national championship game. While drops were an issue for Johnston, his frame differs from the other top wideouts available next week.

Kansas City lost both J.J. Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman in free agency, though the team made an attempt to keep Smith-Schuster. The Chiefs return Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore. The latter two are expected to play bigger roles in 2023, with Toney in particular — injuries notwithstanding — ticketed for a responsibility upgrade. But the Chiefs have been connected to both veterans and first-round-caliber wideouts. Kansas City has not chosen a receiver in the first round under Andy Reid, but the team is making an effort — after passing on a monster Tyreek Hill third contract — to keep costs low at the position.

Meanwhile, in Kansas City, Ian Rapoport of tweets team brass is meeting with Georgia tackle Broderick Jones on Wednesday. Also expected to go in Round 1, Jones has met with a few teams already. The Chiefs are planning to move $20MM-per-year tackle Jawaan Taylor to the blind side, after he spent his career as a Jaguars right tackle, but they lost starting right tackle Andrew Wylie to the Commanders. After backing up future Charger Jamaree Salyer in 2021, Jones became Georgia’s left tackle starter last season. Jeremiah ranks Jones as this draft’s 17th-best prospect.

Titans Host DE Keion White, WR Zay Flowers, CB Cam Smith

With the deadline for pre-draft visits approaching, teams around the league continue to do as much homework as possible on prospects they could be in range to select. For the Titans, that process has included hosting high-end players on both sides of the ball.

Tennessee recently met with defensive end Keion White and wide receiver Zay Flowers, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter links). White is one of the more intriguing members of this year’s edge rushing class, one which is thought to have a number of potential first-rounders beyond the likes of Will Anderson, Tyree Wilson, Nolan Smith and Lukas Van Ness.

White began his college career at Old Dominion after operating as a two-way player at the high school level. He played tight end in 2018, but then switched to defensive end full-time the following season. His 19 tackles for loss in 2019 led to heightened expectations upon his transfer to Georgia Tech. As a member of the Yellow Jackets, he put himself in the first-round conversation with 7.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss during the 2022 campaign.

Those figures could be a sign of things to come as the 6-4, 267-pounder is still relatively early in his time spent exclusively as a pass rusher. The Titans could be in the market for a high-end addition in that department, after moving on from veteran Bud Dupree earlier this offseason. Tennessee ranked 18th in the league in sacks in 2022, and is in need of long-term edge producers to compliment defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, who is in the team’s plans for the foreseeable future.

Likewise, a receiver addition early in the draft would come as no surprise. The Titans struggled in the passing game last season as they began life after A.J. Brown. They used a first-round pick on Treylon Burks in 2022, but more additions should be expected as they look to take a step forward on offense. Flowers has moved up many draft boards following a 1,000-yard campaign in 2022, and he has taken several visits with teams scattered across the first-round order.

The same is also true of cornerback Cam Smith, whom the Titans hosted (Twitter link via Pelissero’s colleague Ian Rapoport). The South Carolina product is part of a very deep CB class, and has generated attention from several teams looking to add him in the late first or early second round. Tennessee has invested heavily at the cornerback spot recently, using first- or second-round selections on Kristian Fulton, Caleb Farley and Roger McCreary in three consecutive years. They also signed Sean Murphy-Bunting in free agency, which should give them a number of options in the secondary.

Tennessee holds the 11th overall pick, one which has been connected to a potential trade-up for a quarterback. If they stay put, though, that selection would be considered a reach for any of White, Flowers or Smith. The Titans’ next pick is No. 41, by which point any or all of them could quite possibly be off the board. If they are able land one of them, however, the team will have done its due diligence ahead of time.