Denver Broncos: Predictions for the 2021 Tight End Room
In 2020, the Denver Broncos carried five tight ends on their active 53 man roster.
- Noah Fant
- Nick Vannett
- Albert Okwuegbunam
- Jake Butt
- Andrew Beck
Out of the five, Noah Fant was the clear leader in the tight end room. Rookie Albert Okwuegbunam had his NFL debut in a Week 5 tilt against the New England Patriots.
Nick Vannett was a solid contributor in 2020 where he had 14 receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown. While those numbers are not mind-blowing, he really made his biggest difference in the run game as a blocker.
Andrew Beck and Jake Butt did not hoist great responsibility in this offense, but if called upon, did provide a bit of comfortability with their abilities.
Leading the way again in 2021, to no surprise, is Noah Fant. Albert Okwuegbunam looked like a budding star in his few outings in 2020. As long as he recovers from a torn ACL, he should hold a predominant role in the 2021 offensive output.
Outside of the two hyper-athletic freaks in Fant and Okwuegbunam, the tight end room will be a question mark in 2021. It doesn’t seem they will be carrying five tight ends this year with the construction of this roster, so who will they carry?
1. Noah Fant
For many reasons, Noah Fant carries lofty expectations heading into 2021.
In his third season as a Denver Bronco, Fant brings a resume of 1,235 total receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. Surely the stats don’t incline your thinking to belive believe Fant will be an All-Pro, but his potential is uncanny.
Along with capitalizing on vital opportunities, having improved quarterback play will certainly boost Fant’s production. In an offense oozing with talent, Fant should see plenty of opportunities.
It needs to be noted tight end is one of the most difficult positions to make the leap coming from the collegiate game. While many positions require learning a condensed playbook, it is quite the opposite for tight ends.
Not only are there blocking schemes and route concepts for tight ends to learn, but they also have to pocket adjustments and shifts from the offensive line. Pairing the knowledge aspect with the increased and elite talent level at the professional game, this transition is daunting for many young players.
After his first year in the Pat Shurmur ran offense, Fant will be approached with continuity for the first time in his career. All things considered, Fant is primed for a breakout season in 2021.
Along with a Pro-Bowl nod in the upcoming season, I would not be surprised to see Fant surpass 1,000 receiving yards on 70+ receptions. Tacking on 7 touchdown receptions, I think we could see an immense jump in production
If he is able to maximize his potential in the future, Fant could be a top-five tight end for the foreseeable future. In a division with Darren Waller and Travis Kelce, it is easy for Fant to feel some natural pressure.
As long as Fant can continue the full-court press to becoming great, nothing except himself should get in the way. I’d expect things to get a bit Fant-sy for the third-year tight end in 2021.