Comparisons across generations are rarely fair. However, the Denver Broncos selection of Noah Fant in the 2019 NFL draft necessitates one. That night in Nashville, Denver did something that they haven’t done in 47-years and only once in their history, drafted a tight end in the first round.
In 1972, with the 6th overall pick, the Denver Broncos selected tight end Riley Odoms out of Houston. At the time, Odoms selection was the highest for a tight end in the NFL draft since Mike Ditka in 1961. Expectations for Odoms were high and he met every one and excelled as the greatest tight end in Broncos history until Shannon Sharpe hit the scene in 1990.
To quote Kaptain Kirk’s article that declared Odoms the greatest to wear jersey #88 (from 2011 when Demaryius Thomas’ run with the Broncos was in its infancy):
Odoms was a starter on the Broncos Super Bowl XII team and never averaged less than 10 yards per catch in a season. He started 134 of 153 games in a 12-year career with the Broncos.
He finished his career with 396 receptions for 5,755 yards, a 14.5 average and 41 touchdowns. Riley ran for 211 yards and 2 touchdowns on 25 carries, Fumbled 8 times, recovered 4 and returned one for a touchdown.
Considering the era in which he played and the stats he amassed while doing so, it’s surprising that his is a candidacy for the Broncos ring of fame you never hear much about. Remember, he played in an era when head slaps and on-the-field muggings were just another part of the game.
4-Time Pro Bowler (1973, 1974, 1975, 1978)
2-Time 1st-Team All-Pro (1974, 1975)
2nd team-offense on the Broncos 50th anniversary Team.
6-100 yard Games
5-Seasons with 40+ catches
1st in Team Receptions (1973, 1974, 1977, 1978)
1st in Team Receiving Yardage (1975)
As a 1st round pick, Riley Odoms lived up to expectations as a Denver Bronco. Can Noah Fant? To quote MHR’s scouting report on Fant:
Modern day move tight end with the potential to become a mismatch nightmare for opposing defenses. Possesses elite athleticism and had one of the most impressive combine performances ever by a tight end. Displays a great burst off the line of scrimmage, separates from defenders with ease, and gets to top-end speed quickly. Has a knack for getting above the defender and coming down with contested throws. Tremendous threat up the seam vertically and in the red zone. Demonstrates great elusiveness in the open field and accumulates a lot of yardage after the catch. Boasts incredible production with 18 of his 69 catches the past two seasons going for touchdowns. Well-coached and comes from a program known for producing NFL caliber talent at the position.
So what do you think, Broncos Country? Can Noah Fant become the next Riley Odoms?
Mason's Mailbag: Drew Lock will get time to develop as backup
And as he pointed out when he talked about his pre-draft visit with the Broncos, he wants the insightful critiques from coaches that will make his game better.
What the Broncos' draft class brings to the team
From Noah Fant in Round 1 to Juwann Winfree in the sixth round, Denver found potential contributors at areas of need. Find out about the skill sets of each and how they will fit on the roster.
Denver Broncos rookie tight end Noah Fant reacts to heartfelt video from his parents after draft [Video]
Denver Broncos rookie tight end Noah Fant reacts to a heartfelt video from his parents on draft night.
Peyton Manning Celebrates NFL’s 100 Years With New TV Series – CBS Denver
"The Sheriff" is back in the spotlight with a brand new show celebrating 100 years of the NFL.
Drew Lock's journey to the Broncos documented on 'Draft Academy' - Denver Broncos Blog- ESPN
Many of the reasons Broncos decision-maker John Elway says Lock is the quarterback "of the future" are seen up close on the ESPN+ show.
Elway bolsters his offense for a change, including QB | National Sports | postbulletin.com
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — After entering the offseason scrambling again at quarterback, John Elway emerged from draft weekend set for the present and maybe the future at a position that's
Dave Gettleman: 'I know for a fact' two teams would've picked Daniel Jones before No. 17 - CBSSports.com
The Giants general manager attempts to further justify his first-round quarterback selection
Report: Giants were wrong to think Broncos would draft Daniel Jones – ProFootballTalk
After Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman justified his decision to take Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in the draft by saying he knows for a fact two other teams would have taken Jones in the first half of Round 1, a report emerged that the two teams were Washington and Denver.
Denver Broncos, New England Patriots show excellent NFL draft execution | Pro Football Weekly
Cowboys and Washington also impress, and Dolphins might have made biggest draft splash of all
East grad Bobenmoyer invited to Broncos camp | Wyosports | wyosports.net
CHEYENNE – Jacob Bobenmoyer is coming home.
Former CSU football players Preston Williams, Josh Watson agree to deals NFL teams
Former Colorado State University receiver Preston Williams and linebacker Josh Watson agree to join NFL teams as undrafted free agents
ECU's Benson signs with the Broncos
ECU receiver Trinity Benson signs with the Denver Broncos.
Former Camel Austin Fort signs free-agent contract with Broncos | Sports | gillettenewsrecord.com
Austin Fort, a 2014 Campbell County High School graduate and standout quarterback for the Camels, will have a shot at playing professional football.
Sherando grad Aston signs undrafted free agent contract with Denver Broncos | Winchester Star | winchesterstar.com
George Aston became an All-Atlantic Coast Conference college football player after starting out as a walk-on, and now he’ll try to make it in the National Football League as an
Five biggest takeaways from the 2019 NFL draft - The Washington Post
The Arizona Cardinals ended up with a draft haul that should make new Coach Kliff Kingsbury very happy.
Kitchens: Duke's trade request 'doesn't matter to me' - NFL.com
Despite his request, the Browns have not traded Duke Johnson, did not trade him on draft weekend as was rumored as a possibility and now insist they do not intend to do so.
Cowboys to sign Hall of Famer Larry Allen's son
The Dallas Cowboys agreed to terms Sunday with undrafted free agent Larry Allen Jr., the team announced.
Bengals tried to trade up for more offensive line help – ProFootballTalk
There was a run on offensive linemen in the second round, and the Bengals tried to get in on it. But when they were unable to, they eventually went the other direction.
Vincent Testaverde gets an invitation to Buccaneers’ rookie camp – ProFootballTalk
In 1987, Vinny Testaverde became the first overall pick in the draft, selected by the Buccaneers. In 2019, Testaverde's son will try to secure a spot on the 90-man offseason roster.
49 of 144 early entries went undrafted – ProFootballTalk
It's a tradition unlike any other, especially since it's a tradition that could end in any given year. Via Max Olson of TheAthletic.com, 49 of 144 players who left college with remaining eligibility went undrafted in 2019.
Chiefs, NFL likely to take action on Tyreek Hill this week – ProFootballTalk
Most who heard the disturbing audio that emerged only an hour before the draft began on Thursday night have concluded that whatever defect of character caused Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill to assault a then-pregnant Crystal Espinal in December 2014 still lingers.
NFL estimates 600,000 attended the draft – ProFootballTalk
The NFL's TV ratings possibly were down by two percent for the first night of the draft in Nashville possible because all those extra people were actually at the draft in Nashville.
Did the 2019 NFL Draft ruin every bachelorette party in Nashville? Hear the bachelorettes hilariously sound off - CBSSports.com
Here's what happens when you put the NFL's biggest offseason event in the bachelorette party capital of the world
Giants draft pick injured in shooting just hours after being selected in 2019 NFL Draft - CBSSports.com
A draft pick of the New York Giants was shot in Kansas just hours after the NFL Draft ended
Sebastian Janikowski retires after 19 seasons in the NFL, all but one with the Raiders - CBSSports.com
The former All-Pro kicker was a first-round draft pick