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Saturday, Jul 21, 2018
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Willie Taggart to NFL GMs: Ignore Quinton Flowers at your own risk

The conviction in Willie Taggart's voice is borne of equal parts bias and irrefutable evidence. USF's former coach doesn't think Quinton Flowers can play quarterback at the next level, he knows it.

"He's gonna make some GM look like a genius," Taggart said.

Flowers' future was among several topics discussed by Taggart — hired in December as FSU's coach after one season at Oregon — during a 30-minute sit-down Monday in his spacious office overlooking Bobby Bowden Field.

He likely never would've enjoyed such a view — in such palatial Power Five digs — had he not unshackled Flowers and afforded him more dual-threat liberty following a 1-3 start in 2015. Flowers, of course, went on to win 28 of his final 34 starts at USF and break more than three-dozen school records.

Now, Taggart says, NFL general managers would be wise to follow his lead, however unpopular or unconventional it may seem.

Give Flowers the chance to play quarterback at the next level.

"He can play quarterback, it depends on what you ask him to do," said Taggart, who recruited Flowers as a quarterback out of Miami's Jackson High when most college coaches envisioned him at a different skill spot.

"He can't play if you tell him to be Tom Brady. … He's always been that kid, he finds a way to get it done. Here's my question: You can't say he can't play quarterback. He hasn't shown that he can't.

"Even when he came in (to USF) they were saying, 'He's too short, he can't see over the line.' He did that fairly well. So to me, give him an opportunity, let him show that he can't. Don't just set limitations on him."

Speaking of conventional wisdom, most of it dismisses Flowers' chances of taking snaps in the NFL.

While at the recent NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis (where he was measured at 5-foot-10), he said roughly half the teams with whom he interviewed would consider him as a running back. His draft profile on NFL.com projects him as a seventh-round pick or a late pickup as a preferred free agent.

Related: If South Florida's Quinton Flowers gets a chance to play in the NFL, it may be as a running back

"It would be a mistake (to doubt him)," Taggart said.

"The kid's a football player, he's a winner. He's a winner at life, he's gonna win at everything he does, he always has. There's no situation the NFL can give him that's gonna be tougher than what he's been through. All he needs is an opportunity, I think he'll prove 'em all wrong."

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