Colts reunite TE Fleener with Luck
The Colts drafted Stanford TE Coby Fleener, reuniting him with Andrew Luck
Indianapolis drafted another tight end in the third round, Clemson's Dwayne Allen
The Colts traded up at the end of the third to select wide receiver T.Y. Hilton
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- It didn't take Andrew Luck long to start calling the shots in Indianapolis.
One day after the Colts took the Stanford quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick, new general manager Ryan Grigson started surrounding Luck with some dynamic, young receivers.
The Colts took Luck's teammate, Coby Fleener, with their second-round pick, No. 34 overall, then drafted a second tight end, Clemson's Dwayne Allen, in the third round. They then traded up to take speedy receiver T.Y. Hilton at No. 92 overall.
"There were other players there that we considered," Grigson said. "But we felt with Andrew and his ability along with (offensive coordinator) Bruce Arians, to me the chance of getting two tight ends like this in one draft is really unlikely. It really lined up well for us."
So well, in fact, that Luck already has a rapport with Fleener and now he'll have a workout partner, too. League rules allow Luck and Fleener to attend next weekend's three-day rookie mini-camp but will not allow either player to attend another Colts workout until their classes end.
For Luck, that means he won't be back until June 8.
But nothing bars the two from working out on campus. Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne is already trying to help organize workouts with Luck, and just before the draft resumed Friday, team owner Jim Irsay offered to provide his helicopter or private plane to transport players as long it's within the rules.
The Colts not only got Luck, they got Fleener, whom many considered the top-ranked tight end after an impressive 40-yard dash time at his pro day workout in Palo Alto, Calif.
When asked after that workout about what would make his transition to the NFL smoother, Fleener said: "Hopefully having Andrew Luck on my team again."
Luck wanted the reunion, too. After meeting with the Colts' brass for about two hours Friday afternoon, and perhaps lobbying to bring his friend along with him, Luck's text message to Fleener simply read "Oh yeah."
Some thought Fleener, an athletic 6-foot-6, 244-pound senior, would be a first-round selection. But when San Francisco, Tampa Bay and the New York Giants all passed on him during the final three picks Thursday, he was still sitting there Friday morning.
The only remaining obstacle was St. Louis. After it chose receiver Brian Quick, the Colts jumped at the chance to get Fleener.
"I think that's just icing on the cake," Grigson said when asked about the teammates playing together again. "How can that not help? He knows him. They have timing together. They've been on the same team together. They've won big games together. It was staring you in the face, how could you not do it?"
In four seasons, Fleener caught 96 passes for 1,543 yards and 18 touchdowns, a career record for Cardinal tight ends. His numbers improved each season, topping out with 34 receptions for 667 yards and a team-best 10 TDs in 2011 when he was a first-team all-Pac 12 selection.
Indy desperately needed tight ends after cutting former Pro Bowler Dallas Clark on March 9 and losing backup tight end Jacob Tamme to Denver in free agency. The only tight end son Indy's current roster are Brody Eldridge, who has been primarily a blocker in his first two NFL seasons, and the untested Kyle Miller.
And apparently, they wanted more than one.
When their turn came around again at the top of the third round, Grigson took Allen with the No. 64 overall pick.
The 6-3, 255-pound junior left Clemson early after winning the John Mackey Award as college football's tight end. In three seasons, he caught 93 passes for 1,079 yards with 12 touchdown receptions. The Colts also like his nastiness as a blocker.
But Allen likes the fact he's in an offense that will use two tight ends and that he'll get a chance to play with Luck.
"He's been touted as the top quarterback in draft and in all of college football," Allen said. "So I'm excited to catch passes from him. You know I saw some games last year, and I know how much he loved the tight end in the college game. Hopefully, that love will transfer to the NFL game."
Luck's other options include Wayne, slot receiver Austin Collie and the speedy Donnie Avery, who is trying to come back from a torn ACL sustained in 2010. Indy signed Avery signed after the Titans let him test free agency.
And now he has Hilton, too. The 5-9, 183-pound receiver caught 72 passes for 1,038 yards and seven TDs last season and ran a 4.37-second 40, running into the wind. Indy sent its fourth-round pick and a fifth-rounder in 2013 to Baltimore so it could move back into the third round and take Hilton, who also is a punt and kick returner.
Indy is expected to finally add some defensive players with its six remaining selections Saturday.
"Sure better," new coach Chuck Pagano joked. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, he said, "is fighting mad."
But the first two days of the draft have been all about Luck -- and getting him a stronger supporting cast on offense.
"Kind of setting the table for him (Arians) and Andrew. He (Arians) an innovative guy and he's used those two positions (tight end and fullback) so well in the past," Grigson said. "To say that we won't have a fullback, I think is premature. But it's nice to say we have two legit tight ends on our roster."
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