There is no denying that Quinton Flowers will be a busy man come training camp.
He was a quarterback for South Florida who threw for just under 6,000 yards and ran for over 2,500 more in his final two seasons in college. Still, his size made him an undrafted player.
At 5-10, 214 pounds, Flowers just wasn’t viewed as a quarterback in the NFL, which is something he has come to terms with in Cincinnati. He has seen work all over the field during the offseason so far. He is listed as a running back currently, but he also saw time at punt protector, punt returner and even some quarterback.
That is an incredible amount of versatility, and the more you can do, the better the chances you have of making the roster. The Bengals will have a very hard time keeping Flowers off this team.
Flowers is facing some extreme competition at most of those spots. The Bengals have Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard and fellow rookie Mark Walton to compete with at running back. That isn’t even mentioning guys like Brian Hill and Tra Carson who have both had impressive moments with the Bengals.
The Bengals also have a ton of players competing for the punt returning spot, including Alex Erickson, Darrius Phillips and even Jessie Bates III. The Bengals also signed Matt Barkley to compete for the backup spot behind Andy Dalton at quarterback, and they also drafted Logan Woodside. In addition, Jeff Driskel will be returning from injury at some point.
That seems like a bad thing for Flowers. He doesn’t seem likely to finish very highly at any of those positions on the depth chart, but he does have training camp to really prove that notion wrong. Even if he only finishes in the middle of the pack in a few of those battles, it could lead to an interesting decision for the Bengals.
Let’s take a look at the scenario that could be created if the Bengals determine Flowers is worthy of a roster spot. They would have four running backs, which would be one more than last season, but having Flowers being able to fill so many other positions could allow Cincinnati to go light elsewhere.
It would allow the Bengals to still only go with two quarterbacks since the team could view Flowers as an emergency quarterback. We will have to wait and see if they are expecting to only keep two quarterbacks without AJ McCarron on the roster anymore. The Bengals could put Woodside on the practice squad and release (or if they are super lucky trade away) whoever loses the competition between Driskel and Barkley if they find themselves comfortable enough with Flowers’ performance. It’s also worth noting that Barkley didn’t do well in OTAs, which may make it easier to keep just two quarterbacks in Dalton and Driskel.
This would also likely mean Erickson’s days as a Bengal would be numbered. Despite putting up some fairly impressive receiving totals compared to how many snaps he played last season, his main role that keeps him on this roster is returning. Even if Flowers doesn’t outright win the return job, having him as a backup in case the main guy goes down is valuable in its own right.
That means the Bengals could go back down to having six receivers on their final roster, or they could use that space for more of a situational receiver like Auden Tate who really impressed during minicamp with his red zone catches.
It is probably more likely they use that spot to retain an extra player at linebacker or even defensive tackle. Safety is another position that shouldn’t be counted out. As the Bengals plan to transition to more of a three-safety defense, they may want to keep five instead of four in case of injury.
Flowers making the roster could open up a whole new world. Of course this isn’t going to be handed to him. Just because he can play all those positions doesn’t mean the Bengals will keep him if he can’t do most of them at an acceptable level. Even if he does play well it could be a very tough decision that low on the roster.
One thing for certain is Flowers could open the Bengals up to some new roster possibilities as a jack of all trades.