Monday, May 11, 2015

Trey Flowers should bring athleticism to pass rush

RAZORBACK RAISES THE BAR: Fourth-round pick Trey Flowers, out of Arkansas, brings an elevated level of athletic ability to Patriots pass-rushing plans on defense. According to reports, Flowers can box jump to an impressive height of 55 inches.

By Karen Guregian
May 10, 2015

The more you learn about Patriots fourth-round draft pick Trey Flowers, the easier it is seeing the defensive end fitting in, and possibly contributing as soon as his rookie year.

First, let’s consider something that’s a bit off-the-wall on his resume. Flowers and Houston Texans star J.J. Watt have something in common aside from the position they play. They can box jump to outrageous heights.

What’s a box jump?

It’s basically where you jump from a standing position on top of some kind of platform or box. There’s a video out on the internet of Watt leaping up onto a 591⁄2-inch platform.

Why do it? This type of exercise helps with explosive movement.

The Pats rookie, meanwhile, hasn’t quite gotten to Watt’s extreme, but he does have a 55-inch jump on the books. It’s crazy.

“Yeah, that’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?” University of Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said when reached last week and asked about Flower’s box-jumping exploits.

Bielema, however, was impressed by so much more after spending the past two years with Flowers. The coach believes the Patriots truly struck it rich by drafting his player.

“From the first day I arrived on campus, he was one of the greatest leaders, one of the greatest competitors, and one of the greatest players I’ve been around,” Bielema said. “I think I’ve had 35 players drafted now from the first round to the seventh round, and he set himself apart Day One.”

Flowers could have entered the draft as a junior, but thought there was unfinished business left at Arkansas. He hated leaving on a losing note, as the Razorbacks finished 3-9. So he returned for his senior year, and wasn’t sorry. The team finished 7-6, and he played well enough to get invited to the Senior Bowl, something that truly elated Bielema.

“To me, what that Senior Bowl recognizes, the greatest players in college football. It’s a week where you can set yourself apart, from guys that maybe who don’t work as hard as you do, or strain as hard as you do, and that’s exactly what he did. I knew his stock would jump off the charts once that happened.”

Flowers strength is in setting the edge and stopping the run. He was an All-SEC Second Team with 68 tackles last season, including 15.5 for loss. He had six sacks, six pass breakups and nine quarterback hits.

Bielema wasn’t going to give Belichick any advice about how to use Flowers. The Patriots coach will see him first hand, and know exactly what to do with the 6-foot-2, 266-pound hybrid defender, who comes from an athletic family.

“I just think he’s an incredible competitor. I’ve seen him play outside. I’ve seen him play inside. I do think he has some ability to do a lot of special things, because mentally he can handle anything,” Bielema said. “He’s one of those few players that truly understands all the defensive schemes, where he fits into it, where others fit into it. I think wherever they end (up) using him, I think it’s going to be a real good story in the end.”

Given all Flowers has had to endure with the Arkansas program, Bielema was pleased where the kid ended up. There’s nothing better than going to a winning organization. But Flowers should be able to fit right in.

“He’s been through three head coaches, four defensive coordinators in four years, and he’s persevered,” Bielema said. “No one told him about the things that were going to go on here during his tenure. To be able to be a part of a world championship team, and I’ve seen firsthand the way they do things, I think he’s going to flourish more than anyone could ever imagine. Just sit back and watch this one. It’s going to be pretty incredible.”

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