After three hours and 32 first-round picks Thursday night, Lemont native Coby Fleener is still awaiting his fate in the 77th annual NFL draft.
Fleener—a Joliet Catholic graduate and tight end out of Stanford—was projected as a late first-or second-round pick in the days leading up to the draft. Some reports even predicted he would go to the New York Giants in the first round, making him the 32nd overall selection.
On Thursday, Fleener watched on as the country's top offensive players were called; none of them were tight ends.
However, based on several reports and a standout performance at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, the 6-foot-6, 247-pound Fleener should have some good news by Friday night. The draft will continue at 7 p.m. with Rounds 2 and 3.
Fleener's mom, Michelle Nagel-Fleener told Patch last week that the entire family has been nervously awaiting the draft for months.
"It's incredibly exciting, and we're just so proud of him," she said. "He's worked so hard and now it's finally here."
At the time, Nagel-Fleener said she thought Coby was expected to be drafted in the late first round or early second, but had no idea where he might end up.
"I think he's talked to just about every team, so we have no idea what could happen," she said.
In March, Fleener caught the eye of many NFL scouts after ESPN's Todd McShay clocked his 40-yard dash at 4.45—an extremely fast time for a tight end of his size. He also posted a 37-inch vertical and a broad jump higher than 10 feet, according to an NBC report.
In his final season with Stanford last fall, Fleener led the Cardinal receiving core with 10 touchdowns. He racked up 667 yards on 34 catches while also leading the team with a 19.6 yards-per-catch average.
He has appeared in 51 games over the past four seasons for the Stanford Cardinal. He has 96 career receptions for 1,543 yards and 18 touchdowns.
In January 2011, he helped his team to a 40-12 victory over Virgina Tech in the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl. Fleener caught six passes for 173 yards and three touch downs, for yards receiving and tying the record for touchdown catches.
Prior to his time at Stanford, Fleener was an all-conference, all-area, all-state and all-academic honoree at Joliet Catholic Academy. He caught 34 passes for 706 yards and eight touchdowns during his senior year, and was rated as the top tight end prospect in the state by Scout.com.
David Molk Also Awaiting Draft Fate
Despite for the nation's most outstanding center in 2011, Michigan's David Molk was ranked third at his position going into the NFL draft.
He is currently projected to go between the third and sixth rounds, according to a Sun-Times Media report.
Molk, who graduated from in 2007, led Michigan to an 11-2 record in the 2011 season, picking up numerous accolades along the way.
In addition to winning the Rimington in December (marking his second year as a finalist), Molk also was named a first team All-American by the Walter Camp Foundation, repeated as a first-team All-Big Ten honoree on the coaches' ballot and earned second-team all-conference honors from the media.
In November, he was of the inaugural Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year award.
Molk finished his career at Michigan with 42 starts in his four seasons at center. He made his 26th consecutive start Jan. 3 in Michigan's 23-20 victory over Virginia Tech in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune last week, the 6-foot-1, 298-pound Molk blamed his low ranking on his height. He said he believes he is the best prospect at center, and is committed to proving his critics wrong.
"As long as I play football my height will be a question. There is no doubt about that," he told the Tribune. "Every time that I transfer a level from high school to college or college to the NFL, frankly even going from grade school to high school, it's always a question. I've proven them wrong twice already and I will prove them wrong again. It's always pissed me off. It motivates me."