NFL Draft: Joliet Catholic alum Fleener doesn’t get Round 1 call
By Dick Goss email@example.com April 26, 2012 11:14PM
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, right, waits with Stanford's Coby Fleener, a Joliet Catholic High School alum. before the first round of the NFL football draft at Radio City Music Hall, Thursday, April 26, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Updated: May 28, 2012 9:14AM
Coby Fleener waited, and waited.
Along with so many of his brethren who play on the offensive side of the ball, he endured the agony all Thursday night while defensive talent was plucked off the board, one by one.
Finally, Round 1 ended. Thirty-two picks in the books and no call of Fleener’s name.
Still, there is reason for the Joliet Catholic graduate and tight end out of Stanford to feel good about his situation.
Fleener, a Lemont native, is considered without peer at what he does. He is the best pass-catching tight end coming out of college football.
With emphasis the NFL has placed on tight ends who stretch the field vertically, such as New England’s Rob Gronkowski and New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, it stands to reason someone will be eager to grab the 6-foot-6, 247-pound Fleener when Round 2 begins Friday night.
“The swing toward Gronkowski and Graham and some of the other tight ends in the NFL right now, yeah, to think I could be one of those guys some day would be pretty cool,” Fleener said before the draft.
But there was that other issue Thursday. After the super five of offensive players — quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, running back Trent Richardson, tackle Matt Kalil and wide receiver Justin Blackmon — went one through five, 12 of the next 14 selections were defensive players, including several pass-rushers.
Once the defensive glut ended, other offensive players who had been expected to go in the first round got their chance to share the spotlight. Still, no tight ends were picked, not even Fleener.
The Sporting News’ first-team All-American, Fleener played in two consecutive BCS bowl games. He averaged 19.3 yards per reception last season as one of Luck’s favorite targets, and he ran multiple wind-aided 40s under 4.5 at his pro day March 22.
Guess who drafts second in the second round. Why, none other than the Indianapolis Colts. You don’t suppose Fleener and Luck will be reunited, do you?