If I were to ask you who the second-most productive and second-most consistent receiving option for the Colts has been for the past two seasons, how many of you would say Coby Fleener? I'm guessing not many, yet that's exactly the reality.
Over the past two seasons, Fleener has caught 103 passes for 1,382 yards, which are both the second-most on the team to only T.Y. Hilton, and 12 touchdowns, which is tied with Hilton for the most. Last year, Fleener was a top-ten receiving tight end in the league, and he has really stepped up over the past two years as Reggie Wayne has struggled with injuries and no other receiver has really stepped up to fill the void. In his three years since being drafted by the Colts in the second round of the 2012 draft, Fleener has played in 44 games and has caught 129 passes for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 12.9 yards per catch. In 2014, Fleener set career highs with 774 yards and eight touchdown catches, and his 51 receptions fell one shy of his career high set in 2013. He has flown under the radar and has been criticized by Colts fans, but he has done a pretty good job in the receiving game - which is the very reason the Colts made him their second round choice in 2012.
In 2015, Fleener will be playing on a contract year and looking to earn a significant second contract, ideally from the Colts. They have quarterback Andrew Luck, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, and left tackle Anthony Castonzo to extend as well, and fellow tight end Dwayne Allen will also need a new deal if the Colts are going to keep him around. Put simply, there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding Fleener's (and Allen's) future with the Colts, but both will for sure be with the team this year. So what will Fleener's role be? The Colts have an abundance of receiving talent with Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief, and Phillip Dorsett, so will Fleener be phased out of the offense a bit? The quick answer is no - Fleener will still get plenty of opportunities, as the Colts will still run two tight end formations and will still use Fleener as a receiving option, because he can help create mismatches. A number of players will be competing for snaps and Fleener will need to continue to impress in order to factor significantly into the offense, but there shouldn't be much question about whether or not Fleener will get opportunities in 2015, because he certainly will.