RICHMOND, Va. — When the New York Giants selected Ereck Flowers ninth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, they expected him to anchor the offensive line for years to come.
Those aspirations never materialized, however. After three-plus uninspiring years in New York, the Giants released Flowers in October of last season. Days later he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, providing what he called a "breathe of fresh air." For the final seven games, he started at left tackle.
Nowadays Flowers suits up in the burgundy and gold, hoping his latest destination provides a fresh start.
"This is a great opportunity," Flowers said after Day 1 of Redskins training camp Thursday. "That's why I'm happy."
Washington's offensive line proved to be a force when healthy last season, and it's nearly back to full strength health-wise.
Right guard Brandon Scherff and right tackle Morgan Moses are both 100 percent, while center Chase Roullier, who missed offseason workouts and the start of training camp because of offseason shoulder surgery, was back with the starting unit Tuesday. Perennial Pro Bowler Trent Williams has yet to report to training camp, but teammates and coaches remain optimistic he'll return.
That just leaves an opening at left guard -- a position the Redskins believe Flowers could potentially fill despite his past struggles.
"I think that I grew as a man there [New York]," said Flowers, who signed with the Redskins in March. "I learned a lot of things, I came there when I just turned 21. So over the years I’ve been through a lot of things and I think it helped me grow as a person, not just on the field but off the field learning how to handle certain situations. It built me as a person."
Flowers spent the first four training camp practices as the starting left tackle in place of Williams, but with Geron Christian returning to the field Tuesday, Flowers served as the left guard with the first team and left tackle with the twos.
At the beginning of training camp, head coach Jay Gruden emphasized that the team brought Flowers in to be an offensive lineman and that where he plays could fluctuate.
"If everything went perfectly, there is a chance we move him to guard," Gruden said. "If everything doesn’t work out, the great thing about Ereck is that he’s played both left tackle and right tackle." Flowers said he's open to playing either spot.
"I’m just doing what they ask me to do, and trying to do it to the best of my ability."
With there being a chance Flowers plays at left tackle, he has spent some of his time observing Moses. He acutely watches Moses' actions both in an upright stance and with his hand in the dirt. He analyzes how Moses uses his hands on defenders in the run and the pass game.
When it's time to play guard, he simply turns to Scherff.
"If I need to know something or do something, I can just ask him or I can just watch him and say 'OK, that’s how I need to do it,'" Flowers said. "Then I watch myself and say, 'OK, this is where I need to correct."