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Broncos roster review: Tight end Noah Fant

Noah Fant could be the biggest breakout player of 2020 for the Denver Broncos.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Noah Fant
Tight End #87
Experience: 2 years
Height: 6-4
Weight: 249 lbs
Age: 22
College: Iowa

In Noah Fant’s rookie season, things started off a little rocky. His output, statistically, just wasn’t there. Just looking at his stats through, it would appear that he wasn’t much of a factor in the offensive game plan.

He only had more than 5 targets in a game twice. He had 9 targets with 5 catches in Week 8 against the Colts, and 10 targets with 4 catches against the Vikings in Week 10. An argument could be made that those were two of his worst games all season.

His catch percentage for the season was 60.6%, which doesn’t exactly light up the world. He only scored three touchdowns all season. He was given the dubious title of “soft” by some fans. He struggled to adjust to the NFL style of play as a rookie, and never seemed to be a consistent weapon.

He and Joe Flacco never clicked, and he didn’t really break out until Week 9 against the Browns, when he had one huge play. It was a play that put his athletic ability and toughness on display, as he blew up Jermaine Whitehead, ran through two more tacklers, and pulled away from the rest of the defense for a 75 yard touchdown. He ended that game with 3 catches for 115 yards and a TD.

It was a play that put Fant on the map, but the rookie still struggled to make more of an impact. It wasn’t until the game against the Texans in Week 13 that Fant would have a similar output. He and Drew Lock looked good together, but it was the only game with Lock at QB that he really shined.

His 4 catches for 113 yards and a TD included another spectacular TD catch that showed his athleticism, concentration, and skill.

Those two games aside, what is there to really get excited about with Fant? It really comes down to his speed and athleticism. Coupled with another year under his belt, with more time to get in sync with Lock, and an offensive scheme that might include more plays to the tight end, and Fant in year two might be the breakout player of the season.

I’ve spent most of this article downplaying Fant, but don’t be fooled. The talent level he brings to the offense is going to be paramount to the success of Lock and the rest of the offense. When compared to his rookie TE class, Fant had more receptions, yards, and touchdowns than any other player, including his former Iowa teammate T.J. Hockenson.

With the added weapons in Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler, defensive coordinators are going to struggle to pick which players they will want to focus on. Fant will have several opportunities to take advantage of opposing defenses losing track of him.

If there is a player to watch (outside of Lock) to make a huge jump from year one to year two, it is Noah Fant.