When Round 7 of the NFL Draft finally ends, more fun begins with undrafted free agency, often referred to as Round 8. This is when teams fight to sign the best players who didn’t get drafted. Some of these guys end up having huge NFL careers. From the Bengals, Vontaze Burfict, Ryan Hewitt, Vincent Rey and Alex Erickson are a few current players who once went undrafted and were quickly scooped up by Cincinnati.
Quarterbacks often get much of the undrafted buzz, and that’s the case with one of the college free agents the Bengals signed. University of South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers is someone the Bengals scouted in the lead up to the NFL Draft. He felt the team was very interested in him at his pro day, telling the media as much.
The Bengals were able to land Flowers after the draft and SB Nation named him as one of the 19 undrafted players NFL fans should get excited about.
Bengals: USF QB (or maybe RB) Quinton Flowers
Flowers is both tons of fun and easy to root for. He was an electric college quarterback, and everyone who worked with him at USF thinks he should get a shot there. Whether he does or not, Flowers has enough athleticism and heft that he has a chance.
Why is he exciting? Well, he was one of the most fun college quarterbacks for the last few years, recording a few USF records in the process. He’s one of six FBS players to reach 8,000 yards passing and 3,500 yards rushing. He also is one of six players to have 70-plus passing touchdowns and 40-plus rushing touchdowns. Talk about a playmaker!
The 5’10”, 214 pound player ran a 4.63 second 40-yard dash at the combine as well as recording a 112” broad jump, 6.81 second 3-cone drill and 4.57 second 20-yard shuttle.
In 2017, Flowers had his best statistical season, throwing for 2,911 yards and 25 touchdowns to just six interceptions. He had a 142.1 passer rating. He added 1,078 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns as well. He even had a kick return in 2017, which went for 20 yards. Maybe the Bengals will try him out on special teams, too.
His inconsistent play at quarterback but incredible playmaking ability is why some think he could be changing positions at the NFL level. The Bengals sent wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell and running backs coach Kyle Caskey to his pro day, which shows how they view him. The Bengals also added quarterback Logan Woodside in Round 7 of the draft, so the quarterback room is a bit crowded.
The Bengals have listed Flowers on the roster at running back as of rookie minicamp.
The only quarterbacks in college football for the last two seasons who rushed for more yards than Flowers were Louisville’s Lamar Jackson (now a member of the Ravens) and Arizona’s Khalil Tate, who is still in college.
NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein wrote that moving to running back is Flowers’ “best shot” at playing in the NFL and ESPN’s Mel Kiper has spoke about Flowers making the change to a skill position, too.
“Some want me at quarterback, some want me at running back and some want me at slot. So I’ve just got to go out there and, like I say, God’s got a plan for me already,” Flowers told the media at his pro day.
His college coaches are also big fans of his, as expected, but the hype is nice to hear.
“He’s gonna make some GM look like a genius,” Willie Taggart, his head coach at USF, told the Tampa Bay Times.
And, if you need another reason to root for him, Flowers’ father died in a drive-by shooting when he was seven-years-old (an unintended target) and his mom died of cancer when he was 17. On top of all that, his stepbrother died in a shooting when he was 20. He’s persevered and matured through it all and is now getting his NFL shot with the Bengals. Former Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, Flowers’ cousin, has also reportedly helped him get through the tragedy he’s endured.
His aunt Julie, who became like a mother to him following his own mother’s death, also passed away recently following a heart attack. The day after her death, Flowers threw for 186 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-17 USF win over Stony Brook. Nothing he’s dealt with (including coaches’ attempts at switching his position dating back to his college recruiting days) has been easy, but you can bet he’ll be giving the Bengals his all this summer as he competes for a spot on the roster.
Talk about overcoming adversity. I’ll certainly be rooting for him to thrive in Cincinnati.