Flowers, 24, was drafted by the Giants at No. 9 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, four picks after the Washington Redskins selected Brandon Scherff. Flowers would go on to start for the better part of four years with the Giants, but he regressed year by year, and at the end of his tenure there, he was traded, and he went unclaimed at the start of 2019 free agency.
For a week, Flowers was a free agent, without a contract, and a future. But the Redskins eventually bailed him out, giving him a one-year contract worth $4 million, and presumably knocking out a 2020 sixth-round compensatory pick as a result.
For the Redskins, that is a very dangerous comparison to make.
Yes, Brandon Scherff successfully made the switch to offensive guard. And yes, so have other players who were tackles in college, but projected better as interior linemen in the NFL. But extreme caution must be taken when applying these truths to the Ereck Flowers situation.
Flowers is a tackle who could potentially be better at guard. But Callahan has an enormous amount of work to do if he plans on trotting out Flowers as a starter. Flowers is a former first-round pick, yes, but one of Jerry Reese’s infamous draft selections (We all know how Jerry Reese’s career in New York ended).
Flowers was, in large part, drafted because of his size and numbers at the bench press. He entered the league with sloppy pass sets, footwork, and hands, combined with stiffness and timidity at the point of attack. Four years later, he hasn’t undergone much development in any of those areas. He entered New York as a project, and left as a project. Such stagnation, over a four year period that provided plenty of opportunity, is a red flag.
It’s okay to believe that there is potential for Flowers to excel at guard. He’s not a great athlete, but if Callahan can work his magic, something good could come out of it. But the Redskins cannot proceed through the rest of the offseason with the assumption in mind that Flowers will develop into a starter. Because Flowers hasn’t made much progress in that direction over a four-year span, and if he doesn’t buy in to Callahan’s method of teaching, it won’t happen.
Make no mistake: Ereck Flowers’ development in Washington is far from a guarantee. The Redskins should act as if they still have a pressing need on the interior, because they do. Yes, project tackles can make the transition. But Flowers is a very extreme project to take on.