For some reason, former Iowa football player Noah Fant is being slept on as an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate, and he shouldn’t be.
When former Iowa football player Noah Fant fell to the Denver Broncos with the 20th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, it couldn’t have been a better match.
The Denver Broncos have struggled to find a consistent threat from the tight end position since the Julius Thomas days, and with a quarterback that LOVES his tight ends, they needed someone that could consistently be a threat on the field.
The Denver Broncos have certainly tried to fill the tight end position with an influx of Big Ten tight ends, but mostly due to injury, they’ve struggled.
Armed with a mid-1st round pick and an incredibly gifted receiving threat at tight end available, they made the decision to pull the trigger on a perfect match for their new offense.
While the folks at Predominantly Orange think Fant is a sleeper candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year, I am here to tell you that he should be the frontrunner.
Offensive coordinator Rick Scangarello has shown he knows how to utilize his tight ends, just look at the performance former Iowa football player George Kittle put on last year. Kittle is now revered as one of the best tight ends in the NFL. You better believe he’s salivating over the potential of Fant in his offense.
Not only is Scangarello’s offensive scheme conducive to setting up the tight end in good spots, but Joe Flacco adores his tight ends. In the last four seasons, tight ends playing with Joe Flacco have ranked 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in targets. The only anomaly was when Dennis Pitta was injured and Flacco’s only tight end option was the underwhelming Maxx Williams.
The next biggest thing is playing time, and although the Broncos gave Jeff Heuerman a 2-year contract this offseason, investing a 1st round pick in a tight end means you are looking for someone to step up. It’s Noah Fant’s job to lose, and despite fall assumptions about his blocking abilities, he is already a top-15 blocking tight end in the NFL. The guy is ready to play now as long as he can pick up the offensive scheme.
Finally, it’s important to look at the landscape of the 2019 NFL Draft class. There just wasn’t a ton of offensive talent in this class. Sure, Kyler Murray could win, but that Cardinals team is atrocious. Fant’s former Iowa football teammate TJ Hockenson could be in the running, but it remains to be seen how Matt Patricia’s team utilizes him. Other 1st round quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones will likely struggle in year one and only Josh Jacobs was selected as a running back in the first round. Receiver’s don’t typically make a big impact in year one, and offensive linemen don’t win stat-based awards.
To me, this means Noah Fant should be considered a frontrunner for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.