Fant after the catch
Now to the meat of this post.
One thing I had to see for myself watching Fant back was how good (or not) he is after the catch. PFF highlighted the fact that he has very few missed tackles per reception, so I wanted to get an idea of why.
After studying the tape, I think it’s very clear that while Fant is exceptionally fast and athletic, he’s not overly elusive in space. I mean, he’s no Saquan Barkley. He also doesn’t ‘Gronk’ guys too often, meaning he doesn’t just run over and through people to create extra yardage.
I’m not saying Fant doesn’t have the ability to create after the catch, either. Feast your eyes…
RIP North Texas:
These are just a few examples of chunk plays where Fant creates after the catch using his elite straight-line speed.
It’s translatable, folks.
I will say, having the context of PFF’s data, I did notice more on tape that Fant doesn’t go out of his way to reverse field and create extra yardage, or plow through defenders and churn his legs. He’s not sliding down every time he gets the ball, but he could get better in this area, for sure.
With that said, the examples above are an indicator of what he’s capable of after the catch, and perhaps there’s room for him to be utilized even more in that regard.
He was used as a blocker at Iowa, of course, but Fant would stay in to pass protect at times. He ran comeback routes, deep in routes, out routes, and flat routes that were designed to gain specific yardage, not for Fant to keep running in space.
Iowa also gave Fant a good percentage of his targets in the red zone, where his ability to gain YAC is obviously limited.
But you wouldn’t want to consider that when you can push another narrative.
Here’s a stat for all of you this matters to. Of Noah Fant’s 19 touchdown catches at Iowa, 13 were red zone targets (inside the opponent’s 20-yard line).
That means that 13 of his 78 college receptions (16.7 percent) had little or no need for YAC.