Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
(percentile rank among all TEs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.50 seconds (96th)
Vertical: 39.5” (97th)
Broad: 127” (95th)
3-cone: 6.81s seconds (95th)
20-yard shuttle: 4.22s (79th)
Over the past 2 seasons, the nation’s best TE duo has resided in Iowa. Keep this in mind when evaluating Fant’s fairly light 69 catches across 2017 and 2018.
Fant was the more productive player in ’17, posting 6 more catches and 174 more yards than T.J. Hockenson. In fact, Fant ranked #1 in the country (among TEs) with 16.5 yards per catch.
But last season, Hockenson topped Fant in catches by 10 and in yards by 241. Hockenson played 296 more snaps than his teammate — perhaps because he’s the better blocker. Fant sat out Iowa’s bowl game in preparation for the NFL, while he also missed part of Week 5 with his first and only concussion. He returned the following week.
2018 was still a year to celebrate. Per Pro Football Focus, Fant ranked top-7 among draft-eligible TEs in deep pass receptions (20+ yards downfield), slot yards and yards per route run.
We’ll see a clear ability to beat defenders with speed in the next section. But if there’s one part of his game to clean up, it’s drops. Fant tallied a drop rate of nearly 10% in 2018 and exits college with 13 career drops, per PFF.
It’s no wonder he’s frequently comped to Eric Ebron. As long as we get the 2018 version, though -- that's just fine.
Games watched - Iowa St., Penn St., Purdue, Ohio St. (2017), Wyoming (2017), Minnesota (2017)
Fant ran an elite 4.50 forty-yard dash, and it certainly translates to game days. It's easy to see him as a mismatch vs. most NFL LBs.
In this clip, Fant torches a 205-pound DB...
Fant certainly isn't a finished product as a route runner, but he showed instances of excellent footwork. Here's one example, as Fant takes advantage of a DB with outside leverage.
Fant played with QB Nathan Stanley, who displayed scattershot accuracy in the games noted above. He finished 2018 with a completion rate of just 59.3%.
So, Fant had several chances to make highlight reel grabs like the one below. He's well-equipped to do so with an above-average (80") wingspan.
Fant's hyper-athletic skill set should excite everyone in the fantasy community.
He dominated each testing drill at the Combine, displaying WR-like speed, top-tier agility and elite leaping ability. That merely backed up his efficient, highlight-filled career. After all, Fant scored once every 4.1 receptions. He tallied a career yards-per-catch mark of nearly 14.0.
As with any rookie TE, Fant's ability to block in the NFL will be critical to his year 1 role. Long-term, however, there's every reason to believe he'll blossom into a 2-way player -- and a likely TE1.