Name: Noah Fant
Position: Tight end
Ht/Wt: 6-4, 249
40-yard dash: 4.5 seconds
Bench: 20 reps
Vertical: 39.5 inches
Broad: 127.0 inches
3-cone: 6.81 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.22 seconds
How he fits: Fant blew away the other tight ends at the NFL Scouting Combine back in February in terms of his athletic traits. He had the fastest 40 time, highest vertical, longest broad jump, fastest 3-cone drill, and finished in the top six in the bench press among all tight ends.
Throw on Fant’s Iowa tape and those athletic traits match the film. He has the potential to be a terrific matchup weapon at the NFL level. Fant caught 39 passes for 519 yards and seven touchdowns this past season, and that was while sharing the field with fellow top tight end prospect T.J. Hockenson.
The Lions signed veteran Jesse James in free agency to be a versatile tight end in their offense, but they certainly have a need to add another young playmaker to that group to pair with James. Fant, along with Hockenson and Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr., are considered by most analysts to be the top three tight ends in this class and likely all first-round draft picks.
Key observations: Fant’s 19 career touchdown receptions are the most ever by an Iowa tight end and rank fourth overall in school history. In 2017, Fant led the nation’s tight ends with 16.5 yards per reception and 11 touchdown catches, which is also an Iowa tight end record. Fant finished his Iowa career with 21 catches of 15-plus yards.
One area where he needs to continue to improve is in the run game as a blocker.
What they had to say about him: “Fant shared the tight end duties with T.J. Hockenson and will compete with his former teammate to be the first tight end drafted (no two tight ends from the same program have ever been drafted in the same first round). He has the route acceleration to work untouched and run circles around safeties, creating his own separation. He is an inconsistent get-in-the-way blocker, but should improve once he zeroes in on the details of the position. Overall, Fant shows promise as a blocker and offers the explosive athleticism as a pass catcher that will cause problems for defenders, projecting as a hybrid joker tight end.” – Dane Brugler, The Athletic
View photos of NFL prospect Noah Fant.
How he stacks up: Brugler put Fant at No. 22 in his list of the top 100 prospects available in the draft. He’s the No. 2 tight end behind Hockenson (No. 9 overall).
NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah recently released his updated top 50 draft eligible players list, and Fant comes in at No. 15. Like Brugler, Jeremiah also lists Fant as the second best tight end in the class behind Hockenson (No. 5).
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Fant as the third best tight end in this class behind Hockenson and Smith.
Fant received an “outstanding prospect” grade of 89 from Scouts Inc.
What he had to say: “I would say now is the time if any to come into the NFL, with the way they’re using tight ends, the way they’re using them more in the pass game but also in the run game,” Fant said at the Combine.
“The NFL is transitioning into a lot more pass, and with guys like Travis Kelce and Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowksi who are catching a lot of passes – George Kittle, for example, having the most receiving yards for a tight end. That’s pretty impressive and it’s pretty special to come in at this time with that being one of my heavy skillsets.”