PFF Stat Chat: Patriots DE Trey Flowers
After a dominant final season at Arkansas in 2014, defensive end Trey Flowers was drafted in the fourth round by the New England Patriots. PFF pegged this as one of the steals of the 2015 draft, as Flowers finished as the second-highest-graded edge defender in the nation in 2014, leading all college edge players against the run. As a rookie, Flowers had a strong 73 preseason snaps, but he was limited to only four regular-season snaps in what amounted to an injury-riddled redshirt season. With productive defensive end Chandler Jones heading to Arizona in an offseason trade, there is playing time up for grabs along the Patriots’ defensive line, and Flowers is right in that mix to make up for Jones’ loss.
We caught up with Flowers to quiz him on some of his stats and rankings from his 2014 season at Arkansas, as well as his pending role within the Patriots’ defense.
[More: Want more PFF Stat Chat? See all our 2016 training camp interviews here.]
Steve Palazzolo: Over the past two seasons, we’ve graded every player in the FBS on every snap they took. Where do you think you ranked among all edge rushers in 2014?
Trey Flowers: Top five?
SP: No. 2, actually. Any idea who finished first?
TF: Was it the Texas A&M guy, [Myles Garrett]?
SP: He was close, but it was actually Joey Bosa of Ohio State. He was the top-graded edge-rusher each of the last two seasons. Now, who had the nation’s top grade against the run?
TF: That was me!
SP: Is that your strength?
TF: Yeah, I feel as though that’s my strength. I just pride myself on stopping the run. You have to play first and second down first—they come before third down, so I pride myself on stopping the run.
SP: Moving more to the future now, how has your role changed from Arkansas to New England?
TF: At Arkansas, from a leadership standpoint, obviously I was a senior—a lot of guys looked up to me. I was a three-year starter. Now I’m back in the bigger pond, and I just have to play my role, including special teams. That’s different, playing special teams. I didn’t have to do that at Arkansas. I have to do what they want me to do on defense, whether it’s inside or outside—have to do what’s best for the team.
SP: Did you work at a lot of different positions last year?
TF: Yeah, that’s what you have to do in this defense—there’s a lot of moving parts. Have to learn and adapt, learn the concepts.
SP: Have you had to learn how to play in more of a stand-up role with the Patriots?
TF: Yes. At Arkansas, I stood up a couple games, but here they give you free reign to stand up or play from whatever stance is comfortable, and I definitely got more comfortable standing up.
SP: So is that on you, to choose your stance on certain plays?
TF: Yeah, it’s about getting into the best stance to execute the play.
SP: What do you think your best game was in 2014?
TF: Was it Alabama? Mississippi State?
SP: Actually, your highest-graded game was against Missouri, then Georgia and Texas A&M, but all five of those games were very close.
TF: Oh yeah, Texas A&M, I had a lot of hurries in that game. [Editor’s note: Flowers had a season-high seven QB hurries against Texas A&M].
SP: One final question: who was the best offensive tackle that you faced in college?
TF: I don’t like to give offensive linemen a lot of praise…but I’d say [La’el] Collins from LSU. He was the most consistent throughout our careers.
SP: Well, glad you mentioned Collins, because he gave up four pressures his last year at LSU. Any idea how many of those four were yours?
TF: All of them?!
SP: No, only three of them, but that’s still pretty good. You were definitely his toughest opponent.
TF: I did kind of get him, yeah.
[More: Be sure to check out Steve’s Patriots training camp report here.]