49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

February 23, 2012
Harbaugh on Fleener: I love this guy

fleener.jpg

Outside of perhaps Tampa Bay's Greg Schiano, it's hard to think there's an NFL coach more well-versed on the current draft class than Jim Harbaugh. After all, Harbaugh recruited as many as four players expected to be taken in the first round alone in April, including the 1A prospect, Stanford's Andrew Luck, and 1B, Baylor's Robert Griffin III, whom Harbaugh recruited to play at Stanford.

But that doesn't always make the evaluations easy.

"In some ways it does and in some ways it may not," Harbaugh said today from the scouting combine. "And sometimes I don't know the difference and I've got to really ask somebody to check me to make sure. Especially with my own guys - the Stanford youngsters. I have so much history with them, from recruiting them to practice to games every day for four years with those guys. Sometimes I don't know if I'm undervaluing them or over evaluating them."

One former Harbaugh pupil who figures to be taken right around the end of the first round - where the 49ers are picking - is Stanford tight end Coby Fleener. "Coby played in and won us games," Harbaugh said. "I tend to be - man, I love this guy. Maybe I over-evaluate. That's why it probably takes checks and balances with those guys that I know so well."

Would Fleener fit with the 49ers, who already have two excellent targets in Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker? Harbaugh acknowledged that he was able to use three tight ends in all areas of the field effectively in his Stanford offenses. But, of course, he didn't show his hand as to whether that's something he would pursue with the 49ers. "You can either speculate or you could say we're going to divulge strategy, and I don't see where any of those two are going to be beneficial to us," Harbaugh said.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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