The Denver Broncos’ top two picks in the 2019 NFL Draft — TE Noah Fant and LG Dalton Risner — made the PFWA All-Rookie team.
As fair as it is to judge John Elway’s drafting for the Denver Broncos from 2013-2017, it should be noted that in the past two offseasons, perhaps no one in the NFL has done a better job than he and the Broncos’ front office.
Rookies Noah Fant and Dalton Risner were recently named to the Pro Football Writers’ All-Rookie team, a high honor for the team’s top two selections in the 2019 NFL Draft.
For the second consecutive year, the Broncos put two players on the PFWA All-Rookie team. Last year, it was top pick Bradley Chubb and undrafted star Phillip Lindsay.
It’s interesting to think about whether or not Drew Lock could have contended for the QB spot with top overall pick Kyler Murray had he played the whole season, but that’s neither here nor there.
Fant, a first-round tight end out of Iowa, had an absolutely historic rookie season for the Broncos with 40 receptions for 562 yards and three touchdowns. That doesn’t seem ‘historic’ at first glance but consider that Fant’s pair of 100-yard performances this past season has not been done since 2002 (Jeremy Shockey, New York Giants).
Fant was seemingly good for at least one 20-yard play per week, and was one of the top big-play threats after the catch in the entire NFL, which has gone underrated by pretty much everyone.
Fant ranked second in the NFL — second — in yards after the catch per reception at 8.5.
Second in the entire league, behind only Titans rookie receiver and fellow All-Rookie performer AJ Brown, who averaged 8.8 yards after the catch. Fant also ranked tied for fifth in the NFL in average YAC above expectation per reception at +2.3, which means he was doing this while breaking tackles and doing things after the catch most people can’t do.
In addition to Fant, Dalton Risner had a stellar rookie campaign for the Broncos.
It’s not often you can draft a guy, basically insert him into the starting lineup the next day at a position he wasn’t playing in college, and he goes out and makes the All-Rookie team.
Was Risner’s rookie season flawless? Maybe not, but it was close.
His play against the Packers throwing Phillip Lindsay into the end zone for a touchdown will forever be in my memory.
This guy embodies everything you look for in a professional athlete both as a hard worker on and off the field and as a teammate, leader in the community, and everything in between.
It’s still shocking that he was the 10th offensive lineman off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Broncos made away like bandits in this class considering they have a QB of the future in Drew Lock who was taken one pick after Risner as well as defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones, who could be in line to be one of the Broncos’ starters in 2020 with Derek Wolfe and Shelby Harris slated for free agency.