NFL Draft 2012: San Francisco 49ers Should Shy from Tight End Coby Fleener

Peter FournierContributor IIApril 25, 2012

Former Stanford tight-end Coby Fleener could go to the San Francisco 49ers in Thursday's NFL Draft.
Former Stanford tight-end Coby Fleener could go to the San Francisco 49ers in Thursday's NFL Draft.Marc Serota/Getty Images

Former Stanford tight end, Coby Fleener, is the biggest prospect to be available at his position in the NFL draft since Vernon Davis was picked by the San Francisco 49ers in 2006, but he isn’t the athlete the team should draft or trade up to pick if given the chance.

This isn’t saying Fleener won’t be a star or that he hasn’t shown lots of potential, but why draft a tight end when Davis, arguably the NFL's best, is already the starter and his backup, Delanie Walker, could start elsewhere?

It’s pure fandom. That’s why 49ers fans yearn for Jim Harbaugh to reunite with Fleener. It would be the Cinderella story of the draft, only topped if Luck went to San Francisco, which isn’t going to happen.

If a team doesn't need a tight-end, it shouldn't aim to draft one. 

San Francisco has added Randy Moss and Mario Manningham to its receiving corps this offseason. It doesn’t need another one for Alex Smith to find a repertoire with.

Smith and Davis have built a solid connection over the past two seasons and he has new receivers to throw to. Build those connections instead of taking away from them.

The 49ers could use help building their depth on the offensive line. The 49ers know they have solid starters at the position, with tackle Joe Staley and guard Mike Iupati, but they lost Adam Snyder in free agency to the Arizona Cardinals and Chilo Rachal is now with the Chicago Bears.

Left guard Daniel Kilgore is a question mark, having only played in one regular season game, and right tackle Anthony Davis has ups and downs. 33-year-old center Jonathan Goodwin isn’t getting any younger.

A handful of mock drafts on have Wisconsin linemen Peter Konz and Kevin Zietler going in the late first round. Both are players who could start immediately in multiple positions, providing more value over drafting a wide receiver or tight end who would have to compete for playing time in a stocked receiving corps.

The 49ers don’t have any over glaring needs, but adding depth to their offensive line or to any position on their 3-4 defense would be the best way to improve the team now.

They need to have the receivers who are already on this team feel the need to compete for a starting spot, rather than adding to the log jam of former first-round draft picks in Davis, Moss, Ted Ginn Jr. and Michael Crabtree.

Fleener will probably be a stud someday, but he won't be able to show his full potential in San Francisco. If he gets picked by the 49ers, it’s no harm or foul, but it’s not the best addition that can be made to a Super Bowl contender, or for someone who's being touted as the next great NFL tight end.