Draft board overall prospect rank: #28
Draft board overall tight end rank: #1
Overall rating: 81 (Borderline 1st/2nd round)
40 time: 4.45
· 6-6 vertical threat
· End zone weapon (10 touchdowns as a senior, 17 touchdowns from 2010-2011)
· Catches the ball at its highest point
· Excellent timed/straight line speed (4.45 40)
· Has the ability to stretch the seam
· 19.6 yards per catch as a senior
· Reliable hands
· Big hands
· Excellent route runner
· Underrated blocker
· Great blocking technique
· Played in a conservative offense
· Good weight room strength (27 reps of 225)
· Probably has the frame to add 10 more pounds of muscle
· 3 year starter
· Too big for safeties, too fast for linebackers
· Has all the tools
· Had Andrew Luck throwing him the football
· Always had the ball thrown to him at the perfect point
· Was his team’s only good receiver- little competition for balls
· Low catch totals (13, 21, 28, 34)
· Injury prone
NFL Comparison: Jason Witten
When Jason Witten was coming out of Tennessee, he was an unrefined prospect. He had all the tools, but because of his lack of elite production, as well as the fact that the NFL hadn’t embraced the pass catching tight end yet, he fall to the 3rd round. Fleener is unrefined as well, but he too has all the tools and in a different NFL, that could very well make him a first rounder, an early 2nd rounder at the latest.
Fleener has all the tools and certainly flashes on tape. He’s a big 6-6 tight end, like Witten, and he can go up and catch the ball at its highest point. He has 17 touchdowns in the last 2 years, including 10 this year. He’s got great straight line speed and is a real mismatch in the seam, because he’s too big for safeties and too fast for linebackers. He’s a great route runner and uses his body well.
He’s also an underrated blocker. He comes from a conservative offense where you have to be able to block to get on the field and even though he’s undersized at 245 pounds, he’s got great blocking technique. He’s been well coached and he has the frame to probably put on another 10 pounds comfortably, which will help him be a true 3 down tight end at the next level.
His upside is that of Jason Witten. Witten has been one of the best pass catching tight ends in the league for years and he’s also an above average run blocker. Fleener will probably have to bulk up the 6-6 265 that Jason Witten is at, or at least close. He is also a risk, however. He’s had the luxury of having Andrew Luck throwing him the football for 3 years, but has never had more than 34 catches in a season. He did a lot with those 34 catches (667 yards and 10 touchdowns), but with Andrew Luck throwing him the football, I would definitely have liked to see more than 34 catches.
Both Orson Charles and Dwayne Allen had significantly more than 34 catches this season (45/574/5 and 50/598/8 respectively). Fleener is a better blocker than Charles and faster than Allen and has more upside than either, but he was less productive with a better quarterback. Charles and Allen are probably safer picks, but Fleener will probably be the first tight end off the board, though not necessarily in the 1st round.