Rookie Rundown: TE Noah Fant, Iowa

Rookie Rundown: TE Noah Fant, Iowa

NFL Draft

Rookie Rundown: TE Noah Fant, Iowa

By

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Noah Fant is the rookie tight end that fantasy football loves. His measurables all point to a career mainly receiving instead of just blocking for the rushing game. He helped himself in the combine and will be a hot commodity in the NFL draft for teams looking to add a talented pass catcher to their roster.

Fant set the reception record at his high school in Nebraska. He opted to become a Buckeye specifically because of their success with tight ends that include Dallas Clark, C.J. Fiedorowicz, George Kittle, and fellow rookie T.J. Hockenson.

Fant may be the first tight end selected in April or he may not even be the first Iowa tight end taken if Hockenson goes first. The duo both gained more receiving yardage and caught more touchdowns than any other Iowa player last year.  There is a very real chance that both are drafted before any other tight ends this year.

Height: 6-4
Weight: 249 pounds
40 time: 4.5 seconds

Fant tied for the national lead with 11 touchdowns by a tight end in 2017.  He declared for the NFL draft after his junior season and opted out of the Buckeyes bowl game to prepare for the NFL Combine.

Year Games Catch Yards Avg. TD Runs Yards. TD Total Yards Total TDs
2016 6 9 70 7.8 1 0 0 0 70 1
2017 12 30 494 16.5 11 2 -1 0 493 11
2018 12 39 519 13.3 7 2 1 0 520 7

Pros

  • His 4.5 40-time was best among all tight ends at the 2019 NFL Combine. His 39.5″ vertical leap was also highest for his position.
  • Athletic mismatch with both size and speed. Offers big-play ability from a tight end. Elite speed for his position.
  •  His size and leaping ability produce a big target window when thrown the ball.
  • Natural red zone target
  • Adept at gaining separation from defenders
  • Can play from anywhere on the field.
  • Has burst and a second gear after the catch like a wide receiver.

Cons

  • Must improve blocking to remain on the field all three downs.
  • Lacks strength as a blocker and when engaged by tacklers.
  • Wasn’t the primary tight end for Iowa because Hockenson was the better blocker.
  • Dinged for not running precise routes.

Fantasy outlook

NFL teams are drawn to Fant due to his speed and leaping ability. He’s a natural target in the end zone and can help advance the ball anywhere on the field since he possesses wide receiver attributes. He is a receiving tight end and could fit onto a couple of teams that just lost theirs – the Oakland Raiders (Jared Cook) and the New England Patriots (Rob Gronkowski).

He’s certain to be drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL draft and he’s not being acquired because the team needs another blocker. For what it’s worth, he’s the exact same size as George Kittle who also went to Iowa. Both ran around a 4.5 40-time at their respective combines though Kittle was initially touted as a good blocker and surprised scouts when he proved so fast.

In fantasy terms, Fant has great attraction for the long term and may even provide relevant numbers as a rookie since he should end up with red zone duty. It all depends on where he lands and if that offense will rely on their tight end for a bigger chunk of the passing plays than most. There’s no real reason for an NFL team to reach for Fant without the expectation that he will provide a boost to the passing offense.

Fant needs to show that he can compete even with contact during his route. His tradeoff is speed instead of a bulky frame and that can fit into today’s NFL offensive preferences. If he ends up on the right team with the right quarterback, he’ll be one to watch for the next many years.

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