When the Denver Broncos decided to draft Iowa Hawkeyes star tight end Noah Fant with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, many thought they were getting a huge piece of their offensive future. As a rookie, Fant showed signs of being the threat that everyone expected him to be, but he also suffered through some long stretches of disappointing play.
In the 16 games that Fant played this season with the Broncos, he caught 40 passes for 562 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 14.1 yards per reception and had a season-long 75-yard catch against the Cleveland Browns.
Standing in at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Fant possesses speed that makes him faster than quite a few NFL wide receivers. His size, speed, and athleticism will make him nearly impossible for defenses to cover as he continues to improve and learn the game at the professional level. Add in the fact that he can grow alongside fellow rookie, quarterback Drew Lock, and things are looking good in Denver.
Denver had a bit of a disappointing season, ending the year with a 7-9 record. Vic Fangio and company are not terribly excited about the record, but there was a ton of improvement towards the end of the year to be happy about.
All of that being said, let’s dive in and take a look at Fant’s season and give him a grade for his rookie year.
To say that his season was a success would be right on par. He didn’t exceed expectations, but he didn’t have a bad year either. Fant was solid all season long.
If the Broncos want to get back to being Super Bowl contenders, they are going to need Fant to develop into a legitimate weapon. He will need to work hard to get to that level, but no one has questioned his work ethic in Denver. All of the tools are there for him to be something special.
NFL.com compared Fant to Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron during the draft process. That comparison would be huge if he can develop into a better pass-catcher than Ebron has been. Ebron had one huge year with the Colts, but fell off again in 2019.
Expect to see Fant take a big leap forward in 2020. The Broncos have a lot of belief in him and he will attack his workouts this offseason to become the player they need him to be.
Noah Fant’s 2019 NFL Season Grade: B