Stanford Tight End Coby Fleener waited all night Thursday at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, but never heard his name announced at the NFL Draft. Fleener came back Friday night and found the wait was worth it.
The Colts selected Fleener with the second pick in the second round, 34th overall. He joins his Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts number one overall pick, in Indianapolis.
"I can't tell you how excited I am," said Fleener in a conference call with Indianapolis reporters. "He and I work very well together. It's nice to have someone you're familiar with as your quarterback."
The teammates enjoyed dinner together Thursday night in New York City. One night later, they are teammates again. While Luck was in Indianapolis being introduced to Colts fans at a draft party at Lucas Oil Stadium, he texted Fleener. "Oh Yeah!" was the short, celebratory message.
"He is a great friend and unbelievable guy," said Fleener. "I honestly can't say enough good things about him. He's one of the guys I would feel comfortable setting my sister up on a date with."
Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano says bringing the college teammates to Indy together is valuable for their NFL development.
"The chemistry between those two is already there," said Colts head coach Chuck Pagano. "They've been throwing catch for a long, long time. There will be a great comfort zone for both of those players."
Fleener stands 6'5", 252 pounds. His move to Indianapolis will bring him back to the Midwest, where he played at Joliet Catholic Academy near Chicago. In four seasons at Stanford, he caught 96 passes for 1,543 yards and 18 touchdowns. The former basketball player has superior height, reach and jumping ability.
"I want to be a four-down tight end," said Fleener. "I pride myself on versatility, speed and having solid hands."
Fleener should be given every opportunity to become the starting tight end. The Colts released veteran Dallas Clark in the off-season. Brody Eldridge is the only tight end on the roster with significant NFL experience. Fleener is considered more of a pass catcher than a blocker coming out of college. But Fleener says his blocking has improved.
"It developed each year," said Fleener. "I got better each year. With time and weight room strength, each year would increase and get better. I look forward to improving that aspect of my game."
Jacoby "Coby" Fleener is 23 years old. He is named after former Washington Redskins offensive tackle Joe Jacoby. Fleener's mother, Michelle, was watching a Redskins game on television, saw the name on a jersey and asked her husband, Bill, about naming their son Jacoby. Now Michelle and Bill can watch their own son play NFL games on television.
The Colts used Friday night to surround Luck with more talent on offense. The Colts drafted another tight end with the first pick in the third round, 64th overall. Dwayne Allen from Clemson won the John Mackey Award this past season, given to the nation's best tight end. In just three seasons, Allen set the school record for tight ends with 93 receptions, good for 1,079 yards and 12 touchdowns.
"We got two really good football players that are going to help us tremendously at a spot where we lost some players and an important position for us to move forward in this offense," said Colts general manager Ryan Grigson.
After the Colts selected Fleener in the second round, Allen did not expect a call from Indianapolis.
"Very surprised," said Allen in a conference call with Indianapolis reporters. "But after talking to the coaching staff and the offensive coordinator (Bruce Arians), I'm not surprised at all because the offense calls for two tight ends, who are dynamic and can do different things. I'm just happy to be a Colt."
The 22-year-old from Fayetteville, North Carolina, is 6-foot-3, 255 pounds. Allen skipped his senior season to enter the NFL draft. He attended Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium as a guest of Gatorade.
"The stadium was great," said Allen. "I have not had the opportunity to go look at any of the (Colts) facilities. But I'm sure if they are anything close to the stadium they built there, that they are going to be great."
The Colts also traded up late in the 3rd round to get the 49ers' 92nd pick. The Colts selected wide receiver T.Y. Hilton from Florida International, a 5'10" speedster who is a dangerous return specialist, a position where the Colts have a dire need. The Colts gave up their 4th round pick (97th overall) and a 2013 5th round pick.
The Colts hold six more picks when the draft resumes Saturday at noon with rounds 4-7. The Colts own the final pick of the draft, 253rd overall.