INDIANAPOLIS -- Stanford tight end Coby Fleener, whose game is built on speed, was named after a slovenly offensive lineman who prided himself on being a "hog."
As the story goes, Michelle Fleener was watching a Redskins game on television and saw the name "Jacoby" on the back of Washington tackle Joe Jacoby. She asked her husband Bill about naming their son Jacoby and was rejected.
Then came a difficult labor, Bill Fleener didn't have the heart to tell her no, and Jacoby Fleener was born.
"So here I am," Fleener, who goes by "Coby," told the assembled media Thursday at the NFL scouting combine.
Fleener, 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, even got to talk with Joe Jacoby recently and thinks he's found a new friend.
Because of an ankle injury in the Fiesta Bowl, Fleener won't be able to show off the speed that has him projected as a late or early second-round draft pick April 26-28.
Instead, Fleener will participate in the bench press and in interview sessions. He said he's on track to run the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day March 22, the result of which could add or subtract a considerable amount of money to his first professional contract.
Given that three young, explosive tight ends made their presence felt on NFL rosters in 2011, Fleener figures the timing is right for a deep threat who caught 34 passes for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, averaging 19.6 yards per catch.
"The Jimmy Grahams, Rob Gronkowskis and
Graham caught 99 passes for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns for New Orleans, Gronkowski had 90 catches for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns for New England, and Hernandez had 79 passes for 910 yards and seven scores for the Patriots.
The 49ers and coach Jim Harbaugh pick at No. 30, right about the time Fleener's name will begin to be thrown about by draft analysts. San Francisco already has two established tight ends in Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker.
Harbaugh's offense at Stanford often used three tight ends, and continued to do so after his departure, with Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo often on the field with Fleener.
Harbaugh didn't draft any of his former players last year, but concedes he has a soft spot after watching them during their formative years.
"You've got day-to-day history, recruiting history, family history, personal history, and then games," Harbaugh said. "Coby Fleener won us games. I love those guys. It probably takes some checks and balances with guys that I know so well."
Fleener was scheduled for his first round of interviews Thursday night, but players are only given a card with no room numbers and no team affiliations.
"Who knows, Jim Harbaugh could be behind Door No. 3?" Fleener said.
Stanford guard David DeCastro is also expected to go in the first round.
But Schwartz, the brother of Carolina offensive tackle Geoff Schwartz, might not be far behind, projected as a second- or third-round pick.
Schwartz got positive reviews for his performance at the Senior Bowl and thinks the multiple blocking systems at Cal have prepared him well for the next level.
"It's all good. We do a little bit of everything at Cal," Schwartz said. "We're probably one of the most diverse offenses in the country. Inside zone, outside zone, man, gap, pulling, sweeps, everything."