Denver Broncos: Grading the 2019 tight end position

Noah Fant, Denver Broncos. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Noah Fant, Denver Broncos. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
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Noah Fant, Denver Broncos
DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 29: Tight end Noah Fant #87 of the Denver Broncos celebrates his first quarter touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Empower Field at Mile High on September 29, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos had three major role players at the tight end position in 2019, a position the Broncos have struggled with. We grade their performances.

Let’s take a closer look at the Denver Broncos’ 2019 tight end position and grade each player’s performances as we see fit.

We have already given grades to the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.

Three tight ends had significant contributions in 2019: Noah Fant, Jeff Heuerman, and Troy Fumagalli. Since Jake Butt is still on the roster and fighting to come back from injury, we will discuss his status as well.

Noah Fant

2019 Stats: 40 rec, 65 targets, 562 yards, 8.3 YAC, 3 TD

2019 Grade: B-

Many Broncos fans were confused and even a little upset when Denver traded their 10th overall pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2019 NFL Draft, trading down to the 20th pick, especially when the Steelers were able to take LB Devin Bush with the pick that the Broncos originally had.

While the thought was this would be where the Broncos would make a move on QB Drew Lock, that was not the case. TE Noah Fant would be the man of the hour, a move that confused many.

Why would the Broncos take another TE with Jake Butt and Jeff Heuerman on the roster? And why would they risk missing out on Drew Lock? However, it all worked out. Considering that Heuerman has battled injuries and Butt has yet to see much regular season action due to knee injuries, another option at tight end was not hurtful. Also, not only were the Broncos able to snag Lock in the second round, they even got Dalton Risner in between.

Perhaps it is time to admit that John Elway knows what he’s doing, after all.

As many will recall, Fant’s start to his NFL career was rocky, as he struggled to find chemistry with Joe Flacco and dropped a number of passes and racked up penalties, something that immediately put him in a negative light with Broncos Country.

However, he would adjust, especially once Drew Lock took over. Although many remained critical of Fant throughout the 2019 season, he quietly made history for the Denver Broncos, breaking tight end franchise records in receptions and receiving yards.

Although Fant only had three scores on the season, there is optimism that in a new offensive system with Pat Shurmur, he will have more scoring opportunity in 2020. However, Fant will receive a higher grade from me once he is able to play a cleaner game, eliminating excessive drops and penalties.