Draft reunites Stanford TE Fleener with QB Luck
April 28, 2012
NEW YORK (AP) – Coby Fleener heard his name, grabbed his phone and immediately contacted his new teammate in Indianapolis – and old teammate from Stanford.
The overnight wait paid off for the Stanford tight end. He’s reuniting with his college quarterback, a guy named Andrew Luck.
Fleener wasn’t chosen in the first round of the NFL draft, in which Luck was the top selection. He got a nice consolation prize Friday night when the Indianapolis Colts grabbed him with the second pick of the second round.
Among the other notable selections on the second day of the draft were: Oregon running back LaMichael James by San Francisco, Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson by Seattle and Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw by Baltimore.
Chances are very good Fleener will become a starter – and a main target – for Luck in Indianapolis.
“I just sent him a text message that had a lot of exclamation points in it,” said Fleener, who had 10 touchdown catches last season and 18 for his career in Stanford’s prodigious offense. “I expected to be on a team where I wasn’t familiar with the offense or the quarterback. I can’t wait to get started, to be honest with you.”
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Indy not only parted with four-time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning this year, but also lost tight end Jacob Tamme to free agency and isn’t expected to bring back injury-ravaged veteran Dallas Clark.
“For me, getting to play with him the past couple of years, it is speed, he is dynamic,” Luck said. “Anytime we crossed the 50-yard line it seemed like we just said, ‘Coby, go run. Go run past the safeties.’ Hopefully it continues to work out.”
The Rams actually used their own pick to begin the second round, selecting Appalachian State wide receiver Brian Quick. St. Louis traded down twice in the first round the previous night, accumulating several extra picks and also taking LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers 14th overall. In the second-round spot they earned for going 2-14 in 2011, the Rams took a wideout from an FCS powerhouse. The 6-foot-4 Quick had a strong Senior Bowl, showing he could play at the highest college level and helping his stock in the draft.
Upshaw of the national champion Crimson Tide was chosen with the Ravens’ first pick of this draft. Baltimore was projected by many to take Upshaw in the first round, but dealt away its pick. Four of Upshaw’s Alabama teammates went in the first round.
Janoris Jenkins, a cornerback at North Alabama who was kicked off the team at Florida, went to the Rams six picks after they took Quick. Jenkins, holding an infant in his arms, had tears in his eyes as he spoke by phone with the Rams.
“I just be honest,” Jenkins said about talking about his past transgressions. “I don’t have nothing to hide. That was my past, that was a year ago. I took my second route to go to UNA for a reason, to show people I wasn’t a bad kid and I wasn’t running from my problems.”
Division II guard Amini Silatolu, a member of the Little All-America team, was the eighth overall selection in the second round by Carolina.
It took 11 picks before Friday’s first trade, with the Jets moving up four slots and surrendering a fifth- and seventh-rounder to Seattle to take Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill. New York needs a deep threat wideout, and Hill was the fastest player at the NFL combine. But he also comes from a running offense.
“I feel great, especially now that I’m in an offense where I can catch the ball a little bit more,” Hill said. “Catching the ball from Mark Sanchez will be great.”
Hill pumped his arms to the fans in the balcony at Radio City Music Hall after having his name announced by Wesley Walker, one of the best deep receivers the team has had.
After New York and Seattle took the lead on trading Friday, the Rams – no surprise considering their earlier wheeling and dealing in coach Jeff Fisher’s first draft in charge – pulled off another. The Bears swapped with St. Louis to move up five spots and get South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery.
A smaller flurry of trades occurred Friday, five involving nine teams in the second round, five more involving 10 teams in the third round. Not surprisingly, New England, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Cleveland were involved in deals, just as they were in the opening round.
Two All-Americans defensive linemen were chosen in the second round: Devon Still of Penn State by Cincinnati and Jerel Worthy of Michigan State by Green Bay. Also chosen, by Detroit, was Oklahoma standout receiver Ryan Broyles, who wrecked his left knee in November after setting some NCAA career records.
“We have the luxury of being able to rehab this guy very carefully and let him get healthy,” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said. “If the guy was healthy now, he would’ve been gone.”
Coach Jim Schwartz said Broyles wouldn’t have to “redshirt” this season.
“I’m glad the Detroit Lions felt I was a guy that was capable of coming back from an injury,” Broyles said.
James, the nation’s leading rusher in 2010, went to San Francisco 61st overall. He joins a crowded backfield with Frank Gore and Brandon Jacobs.
The Giants finished the second round by selecting LSU receiver Rueben Randle, the last of 26 players invited to the draft to be chosen.
“I was just waiting. There was nothing else I could do,” Randle said.
“This is going to be a great opportunity for me. Coming in with a great quarterback and a great receiving corps with Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, this will be an opportunity for me to help these guys out it.”
Wilson, a standout at North Carolina State who transferred to Wisconsin and led the Badgers to the Rose Bowl, went to Seattle in the third round. Ohio State wide receiver DeVier Posey, who was suspended for five games in 2011 as part of the Buckeyes’ NCAA troubles, was taken by Houston. Punter Bryan Anger of California, the first kicker chosen this year, joined Jacksonville at No. 70 overall.
New Orleans and Oakland made their first picks in the third round. The Saints, stripped of their second-rounder as punishment for their bounty program – they traded their first-rounder last year – chose a defensive tackle from Canada, Akiem Hicks of Regina.
The Raiders finished the round with Utah guard Tony Bergstrom.