I’m willing to bet at some point since the 2019 NFL Draft ended you’ve heard one of the biggest myths of the year: Noah Fant can’t block.
There are reasons for this floating around, and they should be addressed immediately.
The first reason is, there’s a stigma around tight ends who are athletic receiving threats like Fant. If you’re that good in the passing game and that athletic, you must be horrible at run blocking.
The second reason is the fact that TJ Hockenson — Fant’s teammate at Iowa — is such a great blocker. Hockenson has a highlight reel of blocks where you wonder if he ever even considered the opponent has a family.
Fant has his share of pancakes, but it’s a smaller stack.
He’s not as good as Hockenson, and therefore his abilities are diminished because of it. I don’t agree with those takes.
Fant can become a better in-line player, but you don’t play for Kirk Ferentz at Iowa if you can’t block. The offense literally depends on the tight ends being able to block.
I think Fant can improve in-line blocking but he’s going to be a highly effective matchup/assignment blocker or space blocker in the NFL. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about in regards to blocking in space.
There are a number of other examples if you watch even just one game of Fant’s Iowa film where he gets out in space and is tasked with sealing off linebackers or defensive backs at the second and third level. He is not a liability as a blocker.
He can get better, but his versatility to play in-line or split out makes him a top 20 pick in the Draft.