Here’s one thing Towson quarterback Tom Flacco appears to have going for him: good timing.
Years ago a six-foot, mobile quarterback like Flacco may not have received much of a look from NFL teams, but things have certainly changed. These days, there are plenty of NFL quarterbacks who are asked to make plays with their feet.
“I’ll tell you what,” Flacco said. “This is definitely the best environment, you know, climate, for me coming out, because 10 years ago they might not have looked at a guy like me. The last two draft picks, first overall (quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray), have been guys who are pretty similar to what I’d say I do, so it’s pretty cool. I’m excited.”
Flacco will get a chance to improve his draft stock Sunday, when he plays in the Tropical Bowl at Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand, Fla. The Tropical Bowl is one of several college all-star games designed for players hoping to land jobs in the NFL.
Flacco is one of four Colonial Athletic Association players who were selected to play in the game, joining New Hampshire defensive back Prince Smith, Rhode Island fullback/H-back Brandon Ginnetti and Albany offensive lineman Griffin Clancy.
“I just want to get in front of scouts as much as I can and this is my first real opportunity to do that,” Flacco said. “If I do well and things happen, maybe I’ll get another opportunity. I don’t have anything in mind … just keep working hard. Like I said, just get in front of (NFL personnel) whenever I can.
“I feel like I can run the offense. I can run an NFL offense in terms of being able to drop back and do what quarterbacks do. They make reads, (find) a guy and make that throw. I feel like I can do that, but at the same time when things aren’t there I feel like I can make a play. There are guys in the NFL now doing that constantly -- they’re running around making plays, and I feel like that’s what I can do.”
Flacco began his college career at Western Michigan, transferred to Rutgers and then transferred to Towson, where he played his junior and senior seasons. He was the CAA Offensive Player of the Year in 2018, and passed for 6,082 yards and 50 touchdowns in 24 games with the Tigers. Tom’s older brother Joe also played in the CAA at Delaware.
Flacco played for six offensive coordinators during his college career.
“If I was going to go down to (FCS) I wanted to be in the CAA because I feel like that’s the best conference,” Flacco said. “They were the CAA team that wanted me and I decided to go (to Towson) because I saw an opportunity where I could have success.”
NFL Draft Prep QB Tom Flacco working 7 Step and with Dovetail to make a straight, balanced throw with anticipation, accuracy and velocity to 18-16 yd Comeback. Elite athlete who can make every throw in the game. The reason Tom is arguably the highest rated small school prospect. pic.twitter.com/i6f6mOc5bb— Tony Racioppi (@Tonyrazz03) January 4, 2020
Originally, it appeared that Flacco would pursue a career in professional baseball. The Philadelphia Phillies selected him in the 32nd round of the MLB Draft during his senior year in high school. He played baseball at Towson last year, when he started 38 games in right field and finished the season with nine multi-hit games and 11 stolen bases (second on the team).
“Coming out of high school it was definitely serious consideration because I was getting scouted by MLB teams my senior year,” he said. “It was definitely something I considered. Unfortunately I didn’t get picked where I wanted to out of high school and I knew I wanted to play college football. I also planned on playing baseball in college, I just had to go out there and prove myself on the football field first. It took me a little bit longer than I expected, but once I did I was able to play my last year of eligibility, but I’m done with baseball. I played in college, which was a goal of mine. I’m focusing on football.”
As for his opportunity to play pro football, Flacco said he’s unsure if he will be drafted or if it’s more likely he’ll have to earn a roster spot as an undrafted free agent. He said all 32 NFL teams attended Towson practices at some point last season.
“But they don’t talk to you, so I don’t really know at this point,” he said. “I’m a smaller guy who can move and a lot of times they’ll put a label on you, ‘He just wants to run.’ I think this is a good opportunity to show how good I am at throwing. Sitting in the pocket and proving that I can do that. I think if they watch my film they can see that, but it’s different to see someone in person and see that ball come out of his hand. So I’m looking forward to doing that.
“Just gonna go out there and play and do what I do and everything will work out.”