Fleener understands route concepts and has the competitiveness and size also to be an effective inline blocker. Some may question his true talent given his size and being fortunate to be on the receiving end of many Luck passes, but the Stanford senior is an attractive prospect who could be taken towards the end of the first round.
He will go up for the ball, especially in the red zone, where Fleener had 10 touchdowns in 2011 (heading into the team's bowl game). He is a smooth athlete who looks natural running deep down the field, even at his height. He is able to anticipate the throw, find it in the air, and rarely does he not come down with it.
His strength can also effect him somewhat in the pass game as he tends to get jammed at the line and can have trouble getting back into his route."
Fleener took on precisely that role for Andrew Luck and The Cardinal last season, emerging as one of the more dangerous receiver hybrid tight ends in all of the country.
After redshirting in 2007, Fleener played in all 25 games during the 2008-09 seasons, but only caught 34 passes for 442 yards and a single touchdown during that span. Last season, however, he nearly matched those totals, earning Second Team All-Pac-10 honors with 28 grabs for 434 yards. Most impressively, he became Luck's favorite red zone mismatch, snaring eight touchdowns -- including three to help beat Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
There is no doubt that Luck's ability to recognize weaknesses in the defense and deft passing touch have contributed to Fleener's statistics, but it would be a mistake to write off the 6-6, 248 pounder as simply a by-product. Fleener isn't a thumper as a blocker, but he does have surprising foot speed, agility and leaping ability for a player of his size, making him a legitimate threat down the seam.
Release: Lines up from a variety of positions for Stanford, including as an inline tight next to both tackles, as an H-back, as well as in the slot and even wide. Shows good burst off the snap, quick hands and good balance to gain a clean release. Has enough speed to challenge the seam but does not possess elite top-end speed for the position.
Hands: Soft, reliable hands. Presents a big target to the quarterback and knows when to allow the ball into his pads to protect it when about to absorb a big hit over the middle. Good body control to reach back for the pass behind him. Also shows the ability to high-point passes (Notre Dame), showing a good vertical, timing and hand-eye coordination in jump-ball situations. Catches the ball cleanly outside of his frame and secures it quickly.
Route Running: Among his better attributes. Gains a quick, clean release and has enough speed to challenge down the seam. Varies the speed of his route, using a variety of pauses and shoulder fakes to get the defender guessing. Quick feet and good balance to create some separation on the stick and post routes despite lacking elite speed.
After the Catch: Above average acceleration for a big man and possesses impressive leaping ability (Virginia Tech) to avoid defenders trying to tackle him low. Only average lateral agility to elude and may not be fast enough to be a consistent threat down the seam against NFL competition. Willing to lower his shoulder and fight for additional yardage, but isn't going to strike fear into the hearts of defenders with his physicality.
Blocking: While far from an intimidator, Fleener does a nice job of helping to seal the edge when operating as an in-line blocker, showing enough strength, leverage and a solid base considering he's a former wideout. Looks to get involved downfield and will block multiple defenders on a single play when he can. Understands his role as a blocker and doesn't shirk from it.
Intangibles: Played tight end, wide receiver and safety in high school. An "outstanding" high school basketball player who earned all-area honors as a junior. Caught a career high six passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns in the Orange Bowl. His three scores went for 41, 58 and 38 yards, respectively..."
Is a good straight-line athlete when asked to run vertically down the field. However, it’s his savvy that really makes him a tough cover. Knows how to use a subtle head/shoulder fake in order to set up defenders and does a nice job changing gears as well. Accelerates quickly down the field, tracks the football well and is coordinated enough to adjust. Also, displays good fluidity and balance on his sharply breaking routes.
Stems his route well, is sudden/quick footed in tight areas and displays burst out of his breaks. Does a nice job using his strong hands and long arms well in order to separate vs. defenders who want to get physical. Likes to use their momentum against them as he gets them off balance and accelerates toward space.
Finds soft spots well underneath and isn’t afraid to work the middle of the field. Isn’t used a ton as an in-line guy in the run game. More of a motion/move tight end who look natural in space pulling into the second level and hitting a moving target. Doesn’t do a great job breaking down however, gets a bit overextend at times into blocks, but can reach defenders off his frame.
Has the ability to gain leverage in the run game, just lacks great strength in his lower half at this stage to routinely get a push. However, it should improve with time. Displays natural balance in pass protection on the rare occasions they do keep him in and can hold his own reaching the corner and anchoring initially with some consistency on the edge when helping with the double
Impression: An impressive pass catcher who can win both down the field and underneath vs. man coverage. Has the frame and flexibility to develop into a solid blocker as well and looks like a future starting caliber NFL TE."
Speed: Fleener has solid speed but not overly fast. He has good long range speed but takes time to build up. He’s not explosive off the snap nor does he have the second gear to separate from safeties.
Release/Route Running: Fleener played in Stanford’s pro-style offense and has run an NFL route tree his entire career. He does round off hard breaking routes but uses his head and shoulders well to set up fakes. He lined up in a bunch of positions at Stanford and looked comfortable in all areas. He gets a good release but he isn’t explosive off the line of scrimmage. He’s got a lot of football IQ that allows him to read coverage and sit down in holes.
Blocking: He’s an average blocker but may have been helped out by an outstanding offensive line at Stanford. He will need to work on his base as he has a tendency to stand up and lose leverage when blocking in-line. He will be a work in progress in terms of blocking in the NFL but the technique is all pretty much there. He’s a better move blocker at this point.
Bottom Line: Coby Fleener is a big target that excelled in the redzone as Andrew Luck’s primary target. I haven’t seen him flash the potential to be the top TE in this class as some have him. I like him in the early stages of round three.
Draft Projection: 2-3."
Has a linear build and lacks the base strength desired as an in-line blocker, but can fit on linebackers on the second level and will compete for positioning.
Had a coming-out party against Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl, when he grabbed 6-173-3.
Needs to get stronger but lines up everywhere on the field and will threaten defenses on every level as a receiver."
Like many other tall, lean receiving tight ends, Fleener struggles in the power aspects of the position. He's not much of a blocker in the run or pass game and doesn't use his strength to get open. He's a former wide receiver and his game shows it. It's not a problem, though, because he can be such a good receiver.
Really knows how to find an open in hole in the zone and patiently work his way through it.
Runs decent routes. Is a more quick than fast player who gets off the line with ease. Likes to fool defenders with pauses and fakes while working through his route.
For as big as Fleener is, it would be nice to see him be a more physical player -- both blocking and catching the ball.
When he's playing in-line, Fleener sometimes has trouble getting off the line of scrimmage. Needs to get stronger in his upper body.
Versatile. Stanford has used Fleener out of a number of positions. He's lined up at H-back, in-line and split wide. His skills suit him best when he's off the line or in the slot.
Has shown great body control and leaping ability -- especially in the Orange Bowl as a junior against Virginia Tech. Combined with his long arms, Fleener can make a lot of bad pass catches.
Despite his high rate of touchdowns compared to catches, isn't simply a red zone target."
Rangy receiver with long arms and soft hands caught 28 passes last fall when he averaged 15.5 yards per catch and scored 7 times; uses size well to create space for himself underneath and wins his share of jump-balls;
Lacks great wheels, but is a long strider with just enough speed to stretch defenses; has adequate size and strength, but is still more of a bulked-up WR/H-back type who doesn’t get much push blocking for the run."
Although he doesn't possess great speed, his long strides get upfield in a hurry, especially if he catches a pass in stride. Very competitive, fights for yards after catch and shows good discipline in his route running. An above average pass-catcher with good hands, he can pluck the ball with his hands away from his body.
Not a natural bender as a run-blocker, Fleener will need to add more upper body strength to drive his man off the line or to simply seal the edge. He does a much better job blocking away from the trenches and can definitely dominate smaller corners and safeties on the outside.
Fleener has the potential to have a long career as a serious red zone threat in the NFL. His excellent crisp footwork when route running will really carry him."