DraftSeason: Coby, first off what are your plans in the coming months leading up to the NFL Draft?
Fleener: My plan is to train for the NFL Combine and probably stay in school to make sure I get my degree.
DraftSeason: What part of your overall game do you feel you need to improve on the most before becoming an NFL tight end?
Fleener: There are many of things I need to improve on before becoming an NFL tight end, but I think that the basics of the game are something that need to be repeated over and over again to make sure that you don’t get rusty in the off-season. Things such as footwork, hand placement, route running, catching the ball, and looking it all the way in, are all things that I am constantly working to improve on.
DraftSeason: You are at the top of the list for available tight ends in the 2012 draft, what do you feel sets you apart from the other top tight ends?
Fleener: I think the people that surround me are what separates me from the other tight ends in the draft. I have been very fortunate to not only play with some of the best, most hard-working players in the country, but also have football and strength/conditioning coaches that are willing to go the extra mile in making sure that I push myself in every facet of my game.
DraftSeason: Best accomplishment on and off the field during your time at Stanford?
Fleener: It was an honor, and a dream come true to be named an All-American for my work on the field, but even more important was helping Stanford Football to go from an 1-11 team, to earning berths in two consecutive BCS games and establishing the expectation of winning. My best accomplishment off the field will be graduating with a Master’s degree after this year.
DraftSeason: You became one of Andrew Lucks favorite targets, what is it like playing with one of the best college quarterbacks in the past 10 years, who made who look better?
Fleener: Andrew is an amazing player, person, and friend. It is awe-inspiring how he handles himself on a daily basis given the constant media surrounding him. It would have been easy to rest on his laurels the past two seasons and just bide his time until he was drafted, but he went out every day in the off-season and at practice and proved through his hard work that he was willing to put the effort in with his teammates to get even better. It has truly been an honor and a privilege to play with Andrew. He definitely made me look better… and I’m sure he would tell you the exact opposite, because that’s just how he is.
DraftSeason: Which current NFL tight end would you most compare yourself to?
Fleener: I don’t think it’s my place to compare myself to guys that are playing in the NFL. However, I do admire a lot of them for their different abilities and styles of play. I have looked up the Jim Dray of the Arizona Cardinals for a long time. His toughness on and off the field and his willingness to do the dirty work that doesn’t show up in statistics has always impressed me.
DraftSeason: Which defensive player gave you the most trouble during your college career?
Fleener: This question is one of the tougher ones to answer. A couple guys that I went against on a daily basis immediately popped into my head. First, DE/OLB Chase Thomas has been a pain to block since he first lined up across from me. Because of his quick hands and understanding of the game, he is always tough to block. Second is Safety Delano Howell. Watching him punish players on other teams makes me thankful that I didn’t have to go against him every Saturday.
DraftSeason: Finally, any expectations come draft day, any goals?
Fleener: My goal is to be drafted as high as possible.