Our NFL rookie profile series continues with this analysis of 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Noah Fant, TE of Iowa. You can also check out all of our NFL Draft Prospect articles here. We will continue to provide you with these in-depth rookie profiles and a ton of other fantasy football rookie analysis right up through the NFL Draft. Stay tuned, and stay ahead of your league!
The NFL is about to get an influx of talent at the tight end position in the 2019 NFL Draft. Today we are going to take a look at one of the highly-touted Iowa Hawkeye tight ends, Noah Fant.
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Statistics from sports-reference.com.
When reviewing Fant’s statistical production at Iowa, we see a player who had a nose for the end zone. In his sophomore season, 11 of his 30 receptions went for scores! That’s just over 36% of Fant’s reception total.
While volume was not Fant’s game as a Hawkeye, he did average 13.9 yards per reception in his career, showing off his elite top-end speed and agility that has him so coveted in this class full of tight end talent. While last season his touchdown total took a dip from 11 to seven, Fant did increase his reception and yardage totals.
The video above does an excellent job of showing off Fant’s versatility. Early, you see him finding holes and sitting in zone coverages in the shallow part of the field. This is invaluable as a tight end for any quarterback. It will help him immediately gain the trust of his QB with knowing where to be, getting to the spot on time and showing off his reliable hands all in one play.
Further into the video, we see how Iowa used Fant in the red zone. This shows a wide variety of ways the phenom can win in this area, be it off of play action or simply by the QB throwing the ball up and allowing Fant to use his supernatural athletic skills and jumping ability to high-point the ball for an easy touchdown.
The tape also shows us just how good the Iowa star truly is in terms of awareness. Fant seemingly always knows where the sideline or back of the end zone is and does a fantastic job of keeping his feet in bounds to complete the catch.
The last thing to take away is just how good Fant is in open space. When Iowa found this electric playmaker in the open field, Fant did not disappoint. He showed off his top-end speed, quickness, and toughness by blazing past linebackers and blowing through defensive backs. The footage of Fant certainly shows why many in the fantasy community are so excited to see what’s next for him.
Some of the most flattering athletic comparisons for Fant are Evan Engram, Jared Cook, and Jordan Cameron. Some of the less favorable athletic comparisons, however, are James Hanna, Ben Braunecker and Michael Egnew.
When we isolate and analyze some of the athletic numbers, the first thing to note is Fant’s main flaw may be his weight. While his weight is a concern, it remains less so for me as a fantasy owner. I believe in what this 21-year-old has shown on tape and that he is a mismatch in the passing game. I don’t think there is a total lack of blocking in his game either so there is really no reason to think his usage will be limited. The worst case scenario is that he is used as a bigger slot receiver.
It’s easy to see where he excels athletically. Fant scored in the 96th percentile in the 40-yard dash, 97th in the vertical jump, 95th in Broad Jump, 95th in 3-cone drill and 91st in the 60-yard shuttle. This information helps us verify that what we see on tape with Fant is backed up in his elite workout numbers.
While tight end isn’t a position often looked at in the first round of NFL drafts, this year we could see as many as three tight ends go that early, something that has only happened once since 2003. Fant, alongside fellow Hawkeye tight end TJ Hockenson, is widely considered to be drafted in the first round with mock drafts having both of them going anywhere from eight overall to the Detroit Lions to 32nd overall to the New England Patriots.
February rookie ADP shows Fant currently with an average draft position of ninth overall in rookie drafts (10.40), being taken as the first tight end off the board. He currently has an overall ADP of 84, making him an end-of-the-seventh-round pick in standard 12-team leagues.
Value for Fant will vary greatly depending on landing spot. A spot in an uninspiring offense like Jacksonville would lower his value and drop him in ADP, while a landing spot like New England would send his stock and ADP soaring.
The NFL and fantasy owners alike have been waiting for a desperately-needed influx of talent at the tight end position. This class offers hope with great depth and top-end talent. Noah Fant is widely considered to be at the top of that mountain and it isn’t difficult to see why. If you are playing in a tight end premium league, I’d be considering Fant in rookie drafts just after the top four wideouts go off the board. His upside is tremendous and he has a very high floor.
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