Tre Flowers recorded zero interceptions as a rookie for the Seattle Seahawks in 2018, but as time passes, theories evolve, and understanding of the game grows, we know as we get older that cornerbacks shall not simply be judged on their interception totals. We know that it may in fact be good to have fewer interceptions if it is a byproduct of quarterbacks being afraid to throw your way; making it all the more incredible that Richard Sherman could have multiple eight-interception seasons while being one of the least-targeted starting corners in the NFL.
Flowers never got the chance to play with Sherman, but he is certainly the closest thing on the team to potentially replacing him.
Beyond just being a fifth round pick and a player who was converted from another position, Flowers also became a starter as a rookie like Sherman (but in fact did so a few games sooner) and performed quite well given the circumstances. And while Sherman was always critiqued by pointing out he had teammates like Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, Flowers certainly does not get that same distinction.
His basic box score stats read like this: 67 tackles (55 solo), three forced fumbles, six passes defensed, and zero picks. But dig a little deeper, as ProFootballFocus did on this particular stat, and you’ll see that Flowers got about as good of results as you can hope for on throws downfield. Per PFF, his rating of 51.4 against on throws within 9 yards ranked 2nd among all cornerbacks.
As one of the #Seahawks' fifth-round picks last year, Tre Flowers allowed a passer rating of just 51.4 on passes thrown 0-9 yards downfield, ranking second among CBs.— PFF SEA Seahawks (@PFF_Seahawks) April 8, 2019
They go on to give him a good run grade, but grades don’t mean anything to this writer so let’s just say I’m hopeful that indeed Flowers is as good on run defense as some of his predecessors at the position.
Of course, 0-9 yards downfield may produce a lower rating than say, 10-19 yards downfield, because it’s a short throw. And if Flowers is a good tackler, then he could even allow targets to be caught and still keep the rating low as long as he’s not giving up touchdowns or big gains. We don’t have the full breakdown from PFF here of how many throws this accounts for and so on, nor do we know how Flowers did 10-19 yards downfield or 20+. I mean, the numbers could be out there, I just don’t have them readily available, though I’m always willing to edit something in!
The best news of all though is that Flowers had played no cornerback prior to 2018, then he started 15 games for an NFL team and not only managed to avoid standing out in a bad way, he often made his name mentioned for good reasons.