Why Noah Fant was such a great pick for the Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant at the NFL Draft. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant at the NFL Draft. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Noah Fant
IOWA CITY, IOWA- SEPTEMBER 15: Tight end Noah Fant #87of the Iowa Hawkeyes runs in for a touchdown during the first half against the Northern Iowa Panthers on September 15, 2018 at Kinnick Stadium, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images) /

Translatable Athleticism

Some guys are great athletes and not great football players. Some guys are great football players and not great athletes.

It’s tough to put things together if you’re one of those two things. Julius Thomas, a former fourth-round pick of the Broncos was a great athlete but not really a great football player. Peyton Manning maximized what he could be and he developed well, but it wasn’t long-lasting.

There are countless examples of great college players who just didn’t have the athletic chops to make it in the NFL.

Noah Fant is a great athlete and a great football player, and that’s where I want to start this post off. He plays fast and has immediately translatable athleticism to the NFL level.

In order to get the picture of what I mean here, you have to turn on Fant’s highlight reel.

Now, not every play in this reel is Fant blowing by guys (and there are many of those kinds of plays from 2017 and 2018 alike) but Fant’s athleticism is consistently on display and he gets separation vertically as well as any tight end you will see.

One area Iowa used Fant really well over the last two years that I think we’ll see the Broncos utilize him is putting him in motion and making defenses crazy before the snap. Especially in the red zone, Iowa liked to put Fant in motion and get him some momentum before the snap where he could really be a mismatch for linebackers in coverage.

It’s nearly impossible to defend a guy this big, fast, and explosive when he has a full or even half head of steam before the ball is snapped.

It doesn’t matter if they want to utilize him in the short passing game, intermediate, or deep downfield. Fant is going to be a mismatch athletically wherever he’s lined up.