The Denver Broncos added one of the best tight ends available in the 2019 NFL draft when it selected Iowa’s Noah Fant with the No. 20 overall pick.
Bleacher Report NFL
Joe Flacco gets another weapon and Courtland Sutton gets a new running mate Broncos select Noah Fant No. 20 overall https://t.co/a8RL0Xvp3d
With the 20th pick in the 2019 #NFLDraft … Welcome to #BroncosCountry, @nrfant! https://t.co/visJt6T3re
Broncos general manager John Elway discussed what Fant will provide:
Noah Fant is an incredibly gifted and athletic tight end. He’s got great speed and he can really stretch the field. We’re very fortunate to get him at 20. https://t.co/tVOA6XXoFm
Many commented on how Fant’s arrival helps a Broncos offense that acquired Joe Flacco earlier in the offseason.
Fant received little playing time as a freshman in 2016 but made the most of his opportunities as a sophomore with 30 catches for 494 yards and a head-turning 11 touchdowns. He caught a touchdown in the team’s Pinstripe Bowl victory over Boston College, two touchdowns in a stunning win over Ohio State and another two in a rivalry game victory over Nebraska.
He continued his ascension in 2018 with 39 catches for 519 yards and seven touchdowns, cementing himself as a legitimate NFL prospect.
Fant checks in at 6’4" and 249 pounds but made the biggest impression with his speed when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine.
There are some wide receivers who would be jealous of that time, including one of the best in the league in DeAndre Hopkins:
The Iowa product’s combination of speed and size makes him an ideal weapon from the tight end spot. Linebackers will have trouble keeping up with his burst and initial acceleration on passing routes, but he can also overpower smaller defenders and safeties as a physical presence downfield.
Fant also possesses the height and leaping ability to be a dangerous red-zone threat who can high-point passes and haul in fade routes.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller was impressed enough with Fant to project him as a first-round pick after the combine.
He will have the chance to deliver on that talent with the Broncos as a matchup nightmare and potential featured piece. He can take advantage of single coverage playing in an offense alongside Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton and make an impact as soon as his rookie season as he looks to help lead his new team to the playoffs.
Jake Butt and Jeff Heuerman were projected to be the Broncos’ top two tight ends in 2019. They have combined to catch 57 passes for 649 yards and four touchdowns in 40 games. Tight end was clearly a need for Denver, and Fant addresses that weakness.