Fleener reunites with Luck, addresses major need for Colts

Posted April 27, 2012 @ 7:47 p.m.
Posted By Arthur Arkush

Colts owner Jim Irsay called his organization “blessed” at new franchise QB Andrew Luck’s introductory press conference Friday. I won’t go that far, and I promised yesterday I would quit making silly puns with the word lucky, so we’ll go ahead and call the Colts incredibly fortuitous.

Less than 24 hours after making the Luck pick official and potentially positioning themselves for another decade-plus of stability and sterling play under center, the Colts had the good fortune of having Luck’s favorite collegiate target, Stanford TE Coby Fleener, fall into their lap with the 34th overall pick. After Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham showed the importance of having a game-changing tight end last season, and with a very weak TE class in this year's draft, Fleener being available at the top of the second round was considered somewhat of a long shot leading up to the draft.

Fleener, PFW draft expert Nolan Nawrocki’s 33rd ranked player in the draft, fills a major hole for the Colts and increases Luck’s comfort level with his new team from the outset. At 6-6, 247 pounds, he is a massive target who can be a formidable seam stretcher the moment he steps on the field. Fleener is also a tremendous red zone weapon, possessing very sure hands and impressive leaping ability.

The Colts' new tight end could barely contain his excitement immediately following the announcement. We know Luck has to be giddy. But you know who else couldn’t be happier with the way the first two rounds of the draft have played out for the Colts? New offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, whose preferred method of moving the football is by striking downfield with a spread out offense and a slew of two-TE sets. Before this evening, that wasn’t possible. That’s because the Colts were alarmingly bare at the position, with just 2010 fourth-rounder Brody Eldridge as the club’s only true tight end. But Eldridge is known for his in-line blocking and inability to stay on the field rather than his big-play potential and tremendous athleticism, which is Fleener’s calling card.

Last night, I wrote about the importance of new GM Ryan Grigson following up the pick for Luck by drafting players that can help him be successful right away. It’s hard to imagine Grigson and the Colts spending the 34th pick on a player who fits that description better than Fleener.