It has been a handful of years since the Denver Broncos have had a legitimate receiving threat at the tight end position. However, that doesn’t mean the franchise hasn’t tried finding one. John Elway and his staff have selected a tight end in three of the last four drafts. Unfortunately, each of those selections (Jeff Heuerman, Jake Butt, and Troy Fumagalli) haven’t panned out as planned.
Availability means everything in the National Football League. Without question, injuries have hampered the crop of tight ends on the Broncos’ roster. Even so, it is unlikely that the aforementioned will end up being top-tier difference makers for the franchise. That being said, it is imperative that the team goes back to the draft well once again to strengthen the position.
A play-making tight end is essential in the offense that Rich Scangarello will be bringing to the Mile High City. Everyone knows the impact George Kittle had last year for the San Francisco 49ers. Not only that, it just so happens to be a position that newly-crowned franchise quarterback Joe Flacco loves to target. Luckily for the Broncos, the 2019 NFL Draft is loaded with tight end talent.
One of the top prospects available is Iowa’s Noah Fant, who has been on my radar since September. A multi-sport athlete with incredible athleticism and production, Fant has the potential to be the ultimate playmaker at the next level. His skill set is extremely intriguing and if selected, would provide the Broncos’ offense with a dynamic that has been missing for quite some time. Let’s take a deeper look at the former Hawkeye and what he brings to the table at the next level.
Noah Fant — Tight End — Iowa
Height: 6’4” Weight: 249 lbs.
Bench Press: 20 reps | Arm Length: 33 1/2” | Hands: 9 3/4”
40 Yard Dash: 4.5 | 3 Cone Drill: 6.81 | 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.22
Noah Fant has some STRONG potential to become a dominant tight end in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/KMRvpqqLIB— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 29, 2019
Film Room and Highlights
Hart’s Scouting Report
Positives: 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.
Negatives: Struggled with drops and consistency during his sophomore campaign, but improved upon that in his junior season. Doesn’t always play to his size and certainly could be more aggressive by imposing his will against defensive backs and linebackers. Only average when it comes to run-blocking, but has the frame and ability to get stronger at the point of attack. Route running is still a work in progress.
Overall: Top 20 prospect. There’s a supreme debate as to who is the better tight end to come out of Iowa this year. While T.J. Hockenson may be the more well-rounded player of the two, Fant’s impeccable play-making ability and potential as a move tight end will be extraordinarily appealing to coaches and coordinators looking to add a unique dynamic to the offensive side of the ball.
Does Noah Fant make sense for the Broncos?
Selecting a tight end with their top selection in this year’s draft might be a hard scenario for Broncos Country to get behind, but there is no denying Fant’s talent. The question ultimately comes down to value. If Denver opted to move down from the tenth overall selection and gained extra draft capital in the process, Fant should be a prospect Elway and the Broncos’ brass highly consider. He has a chance to become one of the league’s best weapons at the position and addresses one of the franchise’s biggest long-term needs.