Coby Fleener And The 49ers Skill Position Needs

STANFORD, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Coby Fleener #82 of the Stanford Cardinal catches the ball while defended by Eddie Pleasant #11 of the Oregon Ducks at Stanford Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Stanford, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Over the last few months, we have had a ton of discussion about the 49ers needs at the wide receiver position. The 49ers have addressed the need to a certain extent with the additions of Mario Manningham and Randy Moss. The team could do good work with the talent in place, but there is always room for improvement, particularly when it can involving adding youth to the depth chart.

As the 49ers consider their skill position needs, the Stanford Pro Day is going on with their host of top talent. Andrew Luck is the big name, but an intriguing name for the 49ers is tight end Coby Fleener. The 49ers have a host of tight end talent, but given the way athletic tight ends can be used in any offense, considering Fleener in the first round is not necessarily the worst idea in the world. Maybe it is not ideal, but if you are looking for receiver help with that pick, there are sufficient reasons to consider Fleener.

At the Pro Day, Fleener measured in at a fraction over 6'6 and 247 pounds. More importantly, this monster of a man ran a pair of sub-4.47 40s. I've seen a range of numbers between 4.41 and 4.46. Whatever it is in that range, those are some filthy numbers. Just for comparison's sake, Rob Gronkowski ran a 4.65 40-yard dash before the draft. The 40 isn't the end-all, be-all of measurements, but it is worthwhile to include in the discussion.

If you are of the mindset that the 49ers need a receiver early in the draft, Fleener could still qualify as a solid option for the offense. Adding a guy like that creates a lot of opportunities for motion before the snap and creating a variety of mismatches. If you line up in a heavy formation and then motion Fleener or Vernon Davis off the line, you could be looking at mismatches galore.

The team might be perfectly content with what a healthy Nate Byham in the third tight end role. However, if they are considering all of their options, adding Fleener into the mix is an interesting way to further open up the offense. Add in the fact that Delanie Walker is a free agent after 2012, and it might not be the worst idea in the world.

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