Dynasty Debate: Flowers, Downs, or Hyatt
By Kyle Highfill
Age: 22 (September 11)
Height: 5’9 ft
Weight: 182 lbs
NFL Comparison: T.Y. Hilton
Zay Flowers is going to be one of the most fluctuating draft pick positions we have seen. The tape has shown that he can be a top wideout in the NFL, but it is going to be tougher for him to compete with his smaller frame, if he’s not in the slot. He had one of the best receiving yards per team pass attempt last season at 2.45 yards per attempt, which shows that he can get downfield fast. Flowers only played 33% of his snaps from the slot position last year, which is also why his yards per pass attempt numbers are so high. I think that Flowers is a guy that could have success in the NFL if he is able to use his quickness, like Devonta Smith does, to beat corners off the line and get downfield quickly. Flowers also has great body control and decent hands which makes him more reliable in those deeper pass attempts. The issue with Flowers that people are going to be nervous about is that he is going to be 23 years old when the NFL season comes around. To put that into perspective for you, Ja’Marr Chase just turned 23 years old earlier this month. I have a bad feeling that Flowers may fall in some drafts because of his age and because he isn’t this spectacular athletic freak like the top wide receivers in this class. Flowers is going to need to end up in a good situation if he wants his rookie stock to continue to rise.
Age: 21 (August 12th)
Height: 5’9 ft
Weight: 171 lbs
NFL Comparison: Tyler Lockett
Another skinny slot receiver in the NFL? Yes, another slot receiver that is going to be one of the most consistent wide receivers for fantasy football over the next few years. Downs has been one of the most consistent receivers in college football over the past 3 years, after he broke out 2 years ago while posting a class-leading, 3.52 yards per team pass attempt. With such an early breakout age, Downs is ready to go absolutely bonkers in the NFL. His size is small, but given that he’s lined up in the slot position almost 90% of the time, during his time at North Carolina, it won’t really matter. Downs has the capabilities to beat you with his speed, but will beat you with his shiftiness more often than not. Downs won’t be drafted to be the WR1 on a team, but he is going to be a great help to any offense lacking a consistent piece over the middle.
Age: 21 (September 25th)
Height: 6’0 ft
Weight: 176 lbs
NFL Comparison: Jameson Williams / Nelson Agholor
In 2020-2021, if you asked the average football enthusiast who Jalin Hyatt is, the answer would most likely be, “I don’t know.” If you asked a football enthusiast this year who Jalin Hyatt is, the answer would most likely be, “A guy that had a lot of big plays for touchdowns.” The issue with this is that his breakout age of 21 is not what we would typically look for in potential studs in the NFL. That’s not to say that he won’t be good in the NFL, but we might just have to lower our expectations a little bit. Hyatt is absolutely a field stretcher and that’s what a lot of teams are looking for in the first couple rounds of the NFL draft. His vertical speed is proven to be a threat for opposing defenses, even against top teams in the SEC. He posted multiple games with 2 TDs or more this year. During his best game this year, he posted 6 receptions, for 207 yards, and 5 touchdowns, against Alabama nonetheless. Hyatt weight is also a concern for the same reasons as Flowers, but he is able to use his speed a little bit better than Flowers can. Hyatt’s potential is definitely there, but it is going to take the situation for him to be able to excel during his first few years in the league. The biggest downfall for Hyatt’s fantasy value will be the lack of receptions he typically gets. When he gets those receptions, they are usually to the house or for a big play, but he is going to have to capitalize on each one if he wants to be a top 12 fantasy wide receiver during his career.
There is so much talent between these three wide receivers and that is why they are being ranked between the WR3-6 on almost every big board I have seen. Some analysts even have one of them above guys like Jordan Addison or Quentin Johnston. Currently, my top 6 rookie wide receiver rankings are Jaxon, Smith-Njigba, Quentin Johnston, Jordan Addison, Josh Downs, Zay Flowers, and then Jalin Hyatt. These rankings could fluctuate depending on the NFL draft, but I am a firm believer that talent almost always outweighs situation. It would have to take a pretty bad situation for me to drop any of these wideouts outside of the top 6.