Despite never playing an NFL snap, Coby Fleener is already picking up accolades, putting him one step ahead of Stanford teammate and Colts’ rookie sensation Andrew Luck.
While most people would wait until actual football has been played to start awarding players, CBS Sports’ Eye on Football blog has already named All-divisional teams for 2012. The AFC South team includes several Colts, including rookie tight end Coby Fleener.
TE: Coby Fleener — We thought about putting Houston’s Owen Daniels in this spot, but in Houston’s run-heavy offense, he probably won’t be as important as Fleener will be to Indianapolis and his old college teammate, Andrew Luck.
Now, Fleener has had an inconsistent camp, and fellow rookie Dwayne Allen has garnered more praise during this month, but Fleener still has very high expectations, both in Indianapolis and nationally. While Allen may turn out to be the better overall player, Fleener’s size and speed give him the potential to be a very unique deep threat from the tight end position.
It may be a bit premature to name him one of the AFC South’s top two tight ends, but he certainly has the potential. Just keep in mind that he IS a rookie, and rookie mistakes are sure to be in store for 2012.
Check out what else was said about the Colts after the jump.
WR: Reggie Wayne — When Peyton Manning is throwing passes your way, it’s easy to see how he could accumulate 80-catch years in the last six years of healthy Manning era in Indianapolis. But the fact that Wayne came up with 75 receptions with the likes of Curtis Painter, Kerry Collins and Dan Orlovsky winging the ball at him last year reminds us that he’s still one heck of a 33-year-old receiver.
It seems like Wayne will have a different role this year. While he’s certainly the number one receiver in Indy, his role as a big play receiver is long gone. As Phil B. Wilson told us in an interview on Colts Authority Radio last night, Wayne has been the one moving into the slot in three receiver sets, instead of Austin Collie.
I have no doubt that Collie will get some reps in the slot, but he has more speed left than Wayne does, and Wayne can use his fantastic instincts and craftiness to find the soft spots in the defense.
OLB: Robert Mathis — For nine years, Mathis has been one of the most feared pass-rushing ends in the game. Sometimes, he was overshadowed by Dwight Freeney, but he got a $36 million contract from the Colts in the offseason. He’ll play outside linebacker this season, but chances are that opposing quarterbacks will see plenty of Mathis in the backfield.
OLB: Dwight Freeney — Colts opponents, once again, will have to deal with the combination of Freeney and Robert Mathis rushing the passer. Once again, it will not be pleasant.
Again, a bit premature to name Freeney and Mathis as the division’s best OLBs when there has been no football played yet, but there’s no doubt the two will wreak havoc on offensive backfields this season. Freeney has had periods of utter dominance in camp this week, and the change should inject some extra life into the pass rush as a whole.
P: Pat McAfee — When he’s not swimming in a city canal in the middle of the night or tearing it up on Twitter, McAfee is a standout, breaking the Colts team record last year with a 46.6 net yard average. Considering he had torn meniscus in his kicking leg, that was fairly remarkable.
I’ve gushed about McAfee already this offseason, but one thing that got lost in the front office overhaul in January was the fact that McAfee had been playing (for nine weeks) with a torn meniscus in his right knee. He put off surgery until the season was over so he could kick for a 2-14 team.
The only Colt that I thought was slighted was Antoine Bethea, who I would take over Tennessee’s Michael Griffin any day. Andrew Luck had a good chance to be on here as well, but I can’t fault the author for putting Matt Schaub in the position for now.