If there was any doubt Joe Flacco was “the guy,” that’s no longer the case.
John Elway and the Denver Broncos put all of that to bed when they traded down in the first round of the NFL Draft to take tight end Noah Fant. When Flacco was at his best, he had a tight end. Clearly, Elway and the Broncos want to recreate that now with Fant.
Of course there’s the importance of the tight end position to the offense Rich Scangarello will run. All you have to do is look at what George Kittle did in 2018 with the San Francisco 49ers.
What makes the pick of Fant so appealing is the matchup nightmare he is for opposing defenses. From Jimmy Graham and Eric Ebron to Vincent Jackson (in terms of athleticism), the Broncos hope to have solved their tight end issue since Julius Thomas left.
Fant is not a blocker and he has some issues with his hands (PFF has him with 11 drops on 80 catchable passes), but if the comps live up to Graham ... this is a helluva pick for Denver. When you think of the biggest issues the Broncos offense has, one of the most glaring is tight end. Now you potentially solve that issue with a guy who has freakish athletic ability, will spread the defense and adds another weapon for Flacco. What’s not to like?
One of the complaints I’ve seen is the pick isnt’ “sexy.” If it leads to wins and helps the offense put points on the board, I would call that sexy. The other has been the most lazy of all draft takes, “It’s not good value.” You get a guy who had incredible production even when he was playing with T.J. Hockenson and that’s not good value?
As a source told our Christoper Hart: “Fant is going to be what Shannon Sharpe was for Mike Shanahan. Believe Scangarello knows what to do with him. It’s going to be huge for Denver.”
“He was one of the first guys I watched in the draft, and I was impressed with him early on.” - Coach Fangio on @nrfant#BroncosDraft pic.twitter.com/pCu51eo4LV— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) April 26, 2019
“Joe Flacco loves to target the tight end ... I would argue that I’m in the best possible situation for a tight end in this draft,” Fant told the local media after the pick.
What some might have an issue with is Elway and the Broncos going all-in on Flacco. Time will tell on that one given the team just finished the second week of voluntary mini camp. Not to mention there’s still the rest of the draft to acquire the remaining pieces.
One of the great aspects of the draft is that you never know. Teams do their best to find the “right fit,” but there are so many other factors at play. What helps Denver and Fant is the fit seems almost ideal. When Flacco was at his best, he targeted the tight end to great success. Now you add a guy who has comps to Graham? Yes, please.
When you pair Fant with Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton and Phillip Lindsay? In an offense similar to Kyle Shanahan? Yes please.
Now the focus turns to the next two rounds and what the Broncos do in the meat of this draft. Do they go offensive line? Cornerback? Defensive line? I would love Dalton Risner, but we’ll see.
In the meantime, if there was any doubt Flacco is “the guy” in Denver, that’s no longer the case.