Rookie cornerback Tre Flowers has spent this offseason learning not just a new position – the Seahawks have switched him from safety to cornerback – but also adjusting to life in the NFL.
Sunday brought yet another another challenge: his first NFL start.
Flowers entered the preseason third on Seattle’s depth chart behind veteran Byron Maxwell and former 49er Dontae Johnson. Johnson looked to have earned the starting role after Maxwell landed on the injured reserve, ending his season. But that too changed when Seattle placed Johnson on the injured reserve just days before the team’s Week 1 opener in Denver.
Any player, regardless of age and roster depth, will tell you that he’s always preparing for a start. And why wouldn’t he be?
But when asked by 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton whether he expected to be the starter after he was drafted in the fifth round earlier this spring, Flowers was blunt.
“I’m not going to lie to you, I did not think so,” Flowers said. “I went kind of late in the draft. But I knew whoever got me, I was going to work hard and push whoever was in front of me, and when the time came I was going to start and do my best.”
Flowers played the third-most snaps (72) behind linebacker Bobby Wagner and fellow cornerback Shaquill Griffin. He finished the day with seven tackles and one pass defended in Seattle’s 27-24 loss.
Afterwards, Flowers said there was plenty he wanted to fix this week as the Seahawks prepare for a Monday night road game against the Chicago Bears.
“I played safety in college, so I’m not scared to tackle. (But I’ve) just got to clean some stuff up in coverage,” Flowers told Clayton. “Just making plays on the ball, squeezing routes a bit more. Everything. In general, everything.”
Veteran safety Bradley McDougald, who also spoke to Clayton after Sunday’s loss, had encouraging words to say about Flowers despite his teammate’s self-critique.
“Man, I said it earlier during training camp, Tre Flowers is a beast,” McDougald said. “Once he gets his confidence level up there and once he gets to feeling himself back there and gets in a natural groove, he’s going to be elite. He has the body frame of any big receiver and he has the agility to stick a small receiver, so I see big things for Tre.”