The Indianapolis Colts have gotten accustomed to having Coby Fleener at the tight end position. However, Fleener opted to not re-sign with the Colts this offseason, as he is joining the New Orleans Saints.
This is an opportunity for Fleener to become the number one option on an NFL roster. He’s been a great asset to Indianapolis over his brief career, but this change of scenery is exactly what Fleener needs to be considered one of the league’s best tight ends.
Fleener was a highly regarded prospect out of college. The Colts selected him with the 34th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. He was given the opportunity to team with college quarterback, Andrew Luck, whom the Colts took first overall in 2012.
An underwhelming rookie season saw Fleener record only 26 receptions. He broke out in a big way during his second, third, and fourth years in the NFL. Fleener amassed 157 receptions, 1,873 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns during the three year span.
Despite some impressive numbers, Fleener was never able to truly reach number one on the depth chart, as Dwayne Allen, the teams third round pick in 2012, took away a good portion of Fleener’s targets. In 2014, Allen accounted for eight touchdowns, the same number Fleener recorded that season.
Luck is one of the league’s best quarterbacks, and when he was involved in the offense it didn’t matter whether Allen or Fleener played the majority of the snaps. The Pro Bowl signal caller simply found a way to make it work. But it became apparent that both Allen and Fleener couldn’t share the spotlight.
The New Orleans Saints will give Fleener a chance to escape the Colts and the shadow of Dwayne Allen. He will now be the Saints lead tight end. And judging by recent history that’s a pretty prestigious spot to be in. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees is one of the best at getting production from the position.
Brees led Jimmy Graham to four straight 85+ reception seasons.He also helped revive the career of 35-year-old Benjamin Watson. During the 2015 season, Brees helped the veteran record a career high 74 receptions and 825 yards.
This shows you how much Brees can impact a player on the field. That’s what makes his future relationship with Fleener so intriguing. If he can help Jimmy Graham reach All-Pro level for four straight seasons, and get Benjamin Watson to do a complete 180 on his career, imagine what he will do with a talent like Coby Fleener.
Brees is arguably a top-20 quarterback of all-time. Fleener should have no problem developing chemistry with Brees, and the two should prove to be a deadly pairing for years to come.
It’s now or never for Fleener. He’s certainly capable of giving the Saints the production they lost when the team traded Jimmy Graham. The Colts will regret the decision to not re-sign Fleener. New Orleans got themselves a steal, and they intend on keeping him around for quite some time.
Follow Daniel James Gentile on Twitter @dgentleman9288