After Coby Fleener ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds at Stanford’s Pro Day on Thursday, I figured Fleener had sprinted away from the 49ers’ spot in the first round: No. 30. The NFL’s a copycat league, and tall tight ends who can run like receivers are pretty popular. Every team wants a Grahamkowski, and Fleener looks like the closest option in the 2012 NFL Draft.
So I checked out a wide variety of mock drafts that’ve been updated since Thursday to see where people think Fleener’s going. Rare are those who think Fleener will go higher than 30th overall, but the amount of people who have Fleener going to the 49ers is almost staggering. It became such a pattern, I decided to post all the ones I could find, along with the description that went along with the pick.
Fanspeak.com (Willy): The 49ers need to add weapons to their offense, and Fleener is a nice value here. Having him and Davis in the same lineup could be really tough for opposing defensive coordinators to stop.
New NFL Draft (Dave): Harbaugh wants to use two TE’s in his offense, and he know Fleener better than any coach in the NFL.
Ourlads: Fleener is a big target who is consistent as a motion and move tight end. Snatches the ball in his strong hands.Competes for the ball. Big and fast. Stephen Hill is another option. Fleener impressed his former coach with his speed at the Stanford pro day.
Draft Tek: While Alex Smith is at the helm on the field, Harbaugh is still the coach. Harbaugh has great proficiency with multiple TE offenses and has already coached and built a relationship with Fleener. Smith has already shown comfortability throwing to TE’s, and could use the extra blocking. Fleener had an excellent pro-day, notching a 4.45 40. But the most impressive part of Fleener’s pro-day was his adjustments to the “poorly” thrown Andrew Luck passes.
FF Toolbox (Christiansen): Could also go with Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Guy’s NFL Draft Locker Room: No comment.
My NFL Draft: No comment.
Walter Football: Umm… did I forget about Vernon Davis? No. Jim Harbaugh loves utilizing multiple tight ends in his offense. If you don’t think this can work, let me refer you to the Patriots. I’d say Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez complement each other rather well.
Harbaugh needs to acquire an offensive playmaker for Alex Smith even after the Mario Manningham signing, and Coby Fleener happens to be the best one available. It’s also worth noting that Fleener’s stock has gone up despite the fact that he didn’t work out in Indianapolis because Orson Charles and Dwayne Allen were both highly disappointing.
FF Toolbox (De Lima): Fleener feels too obvious here. Would Jim Harbaugh really push for his former player this hard? He’s not control after all, Trent Baalke has the reins. But the Niners do employ a lot of two tight end sets and he’s a solid pass catcher as well.
Of the nine mocks I found (and there are probably some I missed) that had Fleener going to the Niners, I finished with that last one from FF Toolbox because their description is absolutely correct. Picking Fleener is too obvious. Harbaugh and Fleener reuniting sounds like a great story, but as FF Toolbox notes, “Trent Baalke has the reins.” Baalke chose Aldon Smith with the team’s first round pick last season, a choice that left many scratching their heads. I’m expecting a similar surprise in the 2012 NFL Draft.