Coby Fleener a Seattle sleeper?

Stanford tight end Coby Fleener made headlines at Stanford’s pro-day last week, running times in the 4.4-4.5 region at 6-6, 247lbs. He missed the combine due to rehab on a high ankle sprain picked up in the Fiesta Bowl.

Pass-catching tight ends that can stretch the field are en vogue at the moment, largely thanks to Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. You’ll hear a lot of talk about how Gronkowski only ran a 4.65 in the combine in comparison, but it’s worth noting he’s 20lbs heavier than Fleener. Even so, he doesn’t necessarily have to be as spectacular as Tom Brady’s favorite target to be a success.

The Seahawks have placed a lot of emphasis on the tight end position since Pete Carroll’s arrival in Seattle, drafting Anthony McCoy and then signing Zach Miller to a $34m contract. Unfortunately, despite the teams best efforts, they’re yet to find any legitimate production from their TE’s. Miller managed just 25 receptions for 233 yards last season with zero touchdowns. John Carlson similarly struggled for production in 2010, while both Cameron Morrah and Anthony McCoy have battled injury and inconsistency.

Of course, a lot of this is down to the emergency blocking responsibilities during multiple injury crises on the offensive line. Even so, it appears the position remains one of serious priority. The Seahawks hosted Jacob Tamme and Visanthe Shiancoe recently, while they reportedly had interest in Washington’s Fred Davis (a former USC Trojan) before he was franchised by the Redskins. Pete wants a TE.

So the hunt is on to find a greater compliment to Miller. It’s been apparent from day one of the Carroll era that he wants to use a lot of 2TE sets. The offense is being built around the run, so having a lot of 2TE formations is no real shock. Finding TE’s who can block well and also get downfield quickly and help exploit play-action will be crucial moving forward. Considering the free agent market has so far failed to provide a solution, there’s a possibility the Seahawks will look to draft. That doesn’t mean Seattle will necessarily take a tight end early, but if the right one is available – who knows?

Fleener’s stock-busting performance last week probably secured his position in round one. San Francisco would like another tight end, so would the New York Giants. In fact there are multiple teams from Philadelphia at #15 onwards that could draft the guy in the first round. If there are GM’s and coaches out there looking for their version of ‘the Gronk’, they might take a chance on ‘the Fleen’.

But what if he slips through the cracks, and actually makes it to the top of round two? After all, prior to his workout nobody really expected him to be a first round lock. I’ve touted him as a firm second round prospect, as have a lot of other mock drafters (can we use that as a word?). Seattle’s priorities in rounds 1-3 are likely to center around DE, RB and LB – and I think it’s almost certain a pass rusher will be taken at #12. Beyond that? Maybe things are a little more flexible, especially if value matches need. Fleener falls into that category and for that reason he’s one to keep an eye on.

Compensatory picks

As expected, the Seahawks didn’t receive any compensatory picks today. Last year’s free-agency splurge on the likes of Sidney Rice, Robert Gallery and Zach Miller ended any chances of that happening. For a full list of what the NFL dished out, click here.

It means the Seattle currently only has six picks in the 2012 draft – their own choices in rounds 1-4, a 6th rounder and a 7th rounder acquired from Oakland for Aaron Curry. They traded their 5th choice to Buffalo as part of the Marshawn Lynch deal and their original 7th choice to Detroit for Tyler Polumbus.


  1. Nick

    I’d love to get Fleener, but like you said Rob, it would probably require a trade up, mind you I would almost put money on the Colts taking him at 33 if he slips out of the first round just based on the Andrew Luck connection.

    Have you heard any Seattle interest on say Dwayne Allen or Orson Charles? I bet they could be had with our 2nd round pick or with a slight trade up with our 3rd round pick.

    Pete probably wants a TE but considering LB DE and RB are our early targets, he could probably target a good run blocking TE in the later rounds.

  2. Ely

    Anyone see the comparrison of Brock Osweiler to Charlie Whitehurst by Greg Cosell? The small irony made me laugh. Projection of a 4th or 5th? seems insanely low.

    Per Rotoworld:

    After watching game tape of Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler, NFL Films guru Greg Cosell says he was “not a big fan” and compared Osweiler to Charlie Whitehurst coming out of Clemson.
    Cosell noticed a “tendency to push the ball,” which is one way some QBs compensate for lacking arm power. “I thought he did not drive the ball,” Cosell said. “I even made a note that he did not have a strong arm, that he needed functional space. I didn’t think he was highly accurate. … I wasn’t a big fan.” Cosell says his final note was “not enough big throws that transition to the NFL.” We expect Osweiler to be a fourth- or fifth-round pick.

  3. tom page

    The question for me with Fleener is how good a blocker is he? I don’t see a clear answer to that in this piece. If he is at least an adequate blocker he could be a three down player and his value goes way up.

  4. cliff

    I could see us going after a guy like Ladarius Green in the 4th after we get our DE, LB, RB 1-2-3. He’s more of a pure pass catcher though so i’m not quite sure we’d be interested but at 6’6 and around 240lb ill take it.

  5. Colin

    If Osweiler is available in round 4… let’s take him. I’ll take Rob’s analysis anyday over Cosell’s.

  6. Seatown80

    I like the idea of Fleener in the event of a trade down into the 20s. TE has become a premier position in today’s pass-oriented NFL. Fleener can stretch the field and also looks to have the growth potential to carry 260+ lbs. The more weapons we can give Flynn the better.

  7. Seatown80

    This Fleener talk got me thinking about how much better outcomes there have been recently with early TE picks. Derek Brown to the Giants, Johnny Mitchell to the Jets, David LaFleur to the Cowboys…yuck!

  8. seattl

    glad to hear about draft possibilities but Im hoping the Seahawks Don’t go tight end anywhere in Day 1, there are too many fast lb’s we’d have to pass on, and rb options.

  9. Kip Earlywine

    That is pretty funny that he compared him to Whitehurst. I can see a few similarities (quiet/introverted personality type, more of a physical specimen than a natural QB), but its not the comparison I would make. Whitehurst is a very limited QB mentally, and while I’m not nearly as big a fan of Osweiler as Rob is, I’ll at least give Osweiler credit for progressing through reads and having some comfort running an offense. I do agree with Cosell’s criticisms about accuracy. I would probably rank Osweiler 6th, 7th, or 8th among this year’s QBs. I’d probably even put him behind Darron Thomas (for our scheme), although I’ll admit up front that Osweiler’s potential is much higher if he can put it all together including leadership skills.

  10. Tarry

    Fleener’s ankle is still bothering him, but I’m sure if we are in fact targeting him the medical report will be closely looked at. The fact that Seattle brought in Shiancoe and Tamme does put emphasis on TE, but neither is Fleener potential type, so would we draft one at 12?. To take a TE at 12 is not really unpresidented (Jeremy Shockey was taken 14th) and as you stated DE is more likely. That said with only 6 picks the Seahawks are going to have to get creative to backfill. We are lacking 2 starters currently in our LB corps MIKE and WILL, DE is needed, RB, back-up MIKE and if you add TE to that along with other nice to haves for depth WR, nickle CB. Keeping 12 is looking more and more like it will not or rather cant happen.

  11. FryMeat

    I am happy you supplied some tape on Fleener. I like Fleener and watched some tape. His blocking appears good if not more than adequate. His speed and size is why I like him so much. Great target and the likes of Fleener and Miller is a dream come true. So, it won’t happen. He will be picked up before Seattle even has a chance after they pick a pass rusher. I would hate to see Seattle grab a tight end like Fleener or Dwayne Allen and be used for blocking when they are great targets. Allen was an excellent Red zone target last year for Clemson.

    George Bryan of NC State would probably be available for Seattle in the later rounds when they may start considering TE. He could be available in the 6th and he is 6-5 and runs 4.77. Very good blocking TE, which could benefit Miller in two TE sets.

  12. Rugby Lock

    I wouldn’t mind drafting Fleener but like tom asked above what sort of blocker is he? Now that Allen kid from Clemson is someone I really like. Looks like he can catch well and has nice speed form the tape I’ve seen. However, what I love about him is his blocking! To me he would fit real well in this offense… two TE’s that can catch AND block… nice…

  13. Kyle

    Nice job considering the TE angle. I’ve thought as the Carlson-Tamme-Shiancoe situations shook out that this is a possibility.

    I do think that this is another scenario why we _might_ still see a Seahawks’ trade-down in the first round, and if not the first, the possibility increases in the second. The team’s philosophy requires a high volume of draft picks, in part so that there are bodies to “always compete,” and also because if you are going to let late-round and undrafted guys have a shot you need to have a lot of them (even in the best situations few pan out).

    In fact, I’d be willing to bet that it is almost certain the Seahawks will add a pick during the draft, if not from a trade-down, then from trading a player on the roster. They’ve done it the last two years, and I see no departure from that model. It may not be at 12, but I think it would be shortsighted to not consider the possibility.

  14. David

    Fleener showed his speed. Legitimate deep threat. People knock him on his run blocking but its passable with someone of his skill set and maybe he could develop it. He is a definite threat in the passing game for whoever drafts him. I would not be at all upset if we drafted him.

  15. YDB

    Considering the size and skill set of the TEs the Seahawks have brought in, I wonder if Egnew is on their radar for R4/5. He could could add a dynamic element to the middle of the field in two TE sets with his underneath and seam route ability. Further, It seems like with Cable’s help, he could improve his blocking skills.

  16. Smeghead

    I just know I don’t want to see Miller held up at the line blocking all the time again. You don’t pay a talent like that to do that job most of the game… Curious if McCoy or Morrah will emerge at all or if we’ve seen what we’re going to get…

  17. Richard

    The need is there for another TE, but not in the first 3 rounds. The opportunity to address more serious needs should be addressed upfront.

    Who in your opinion(s) are the assets that could be traded for a 5th atleast. Are their any assets that are expendable for more draft choices? That could give J and P Patchwork (loosely tied Seattle icon reference) the ability to fill in the many needs that seem even more apparent if Leroy Hill and David Hawthorne don’t return. If they did it would probably be as backups or situational anyway right?

  18. david

    Cameron Morrah wasnt a terrible blocker last year, i remember a few times he made some key blocks coming across behind the O-line to get the DE on the opposite side where he lined up.

    I remember him being a better reciever before he got hurt.

    I am wondering if they are looking at Fleener along with Shiancoe (SP?) and Tamme, what are they going to do with McCoy, Morrah and Nalbone (PS), its almost a show of loss of interest in Morrah and the fore mentioned isnt it?

    I dont recall if the Giants signed a TE, but there was talk of the Hawks trading a TE to them for a pick(s), I wonder if they would do that.

    With only having 6 picks this year i have to imagine they are either going to trade players for picks at some point or trade back in the draft somewhere to get more.

  19. Smeghead

    would love us to trade Tate, Obo, or BMW for some more picks…4th or 5th rounders would be fine with me…

  20. peter


    Giants signed Martellus Bennet…..He hasn’t done anything yet, and maybe never will, but he’s a guy I thought would be great….

  21. brian

    We need a pass rusher and a linebacker. Feelner would be a luxury pick but we don’t have the luxury of being able to pick a te.

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