Noah Fant 2019 NFL Draft Profile

Noah Fant
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - NOVEMBER 03: Iowa Hawkeyes tight end Noah Fant (87) runs to the sidelines during the college football game between the Purdue Boilermakers and Iowa Hawkeyes on November 3, 2018, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Overview
Position
: Tight end
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 241 pounds
School: Iowa Hawkeyes

Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash
: 4.56 seconds (best among tight ends)
Bench press: 20 reps
Vertical jump: 39.5 inches (best among tight ends)
Broad jump: 10 feet, 7 inches (best among tight ends)
Three-cone drill: 6.81 seconds (best among tight ends)
20-yard shuttle: 4.22 seconds (third-best among tight ends)
60-yard shuttle: 11.49 seconds (best among tight ends)

Noah Fant 2019 NFL Draft Profile

Tight ends from the University of Iowa gained a prominent spotlight after the performance of George Kittle in 2018. Despite uncertainty at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Kittle ended up setting an NFL record for receiving yards from a tight end. A year later, two Hawkeyes figure to go in the draft fairly early to a team with a need at the position: T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant.

In Fant’s case, he received eight scholarship offers from Power Five schools out of high school. Rated the top prospect out of the state of Nebraska by Rivals, Fant spurned an offer from the Huskers and eventually committed to Iowa. As a true freshman, he appeared in 11 games but saw limited action with just nine catches for 70 yards and a single touchdown reception.

That all changed a year later. Fant discovered a knack for the end zone, finishing the season with 11 touchdowns which were tied for best in FBS among tight ends with Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam. It led to him garnering All-Big Ten recognition from the conference’s coaches and media. He followed that up with another standout campaign in 2018, tallying seven touchdowns and a career-high 519 receiving yards. For his efforts, he collected AP third-team All-America honors. His 19 career touchdown catches are an Iowa school record for a tight end.

Strengths

  • tremendous initial burst off the snap;
  • reels in catches with reliable and soft hands;
  • can line up everywhere on the line of scrimmage;
  • knows where the pockets of space are in zone coverage;
  • reacts and adjusts to haul in off-target throws;
  • looks the part of a dangerous seam route weapon;
  • played in a pro-style offensive scheme at Iowa;
  • brings prodigious effort on every snap;
  • a competitor who shows up in big moments.

Weaknesses

  • somewhat basic as a route-runner;
  • lacks physicality in separating from man coverage;
  • route transitions need a bit more sharpness;
  • generally gets brought down on initial contact;
  • could exhibit better overall blocking technique;
  • needs to drop pad level when in-line blocking.

NFL Comparison: David Njoku

Teams With Need at Position: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks

Projection: Late first to early second round

Bottom Line

Fant gave Iowa two impressive seasons and subsequently decided to forego his senior season to enter the draft. He’s a natural pass-catcher with soft hands and displays the athleticism necessary to be a playmaking tight end at the next level. Among his other strong suits is the ability to line up next to the tackle, in the slot, or outside the numbers.

That said, he’s far from a finished product. Fant needs to add more nuance to his route-running and become a more reliable blocker. With respect to the latter, it would behoove him to develop more advanced blocking techniques such as pulling inside and executing wham blocks. But there’s enough to suggest that Fant’s ceiling is that of a starting caliber player at the next level.

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