The Broncos selected tight end Noah Fant after trading down in the first round of the draft as his mix of size and speed made him an appealing prospect for a team looking to bump up their offensive production in 2019.
Fant’s early practice work has drawn some good reviews for how those tools have translated to the field. Broncos head coach Vic Fangio offered a reminder that early buzz should be tempered by how much has to change from the college ranks to the professional one.
“Yeah, he can run. We all knew that,” Fangio said, via Nicki Jhabvala of TheAthletic.com. “That was easy, but now he has to learn how to be a tight end in the NFL. He’s got tools, but you know I can go into Home Depot and walk out with a bunch of nice tools and I’m not a carpenter. We have to teach him how to be a tight end in the NFL, and he’s working great at it.”
Tight ends can take some time to develop and only 11 rookie tight ends have gained at least 500 yards since the turn of the century. One of those was George Kittle of the 49ers, who was once Fant’s teammate on Iowa and caught 43 passes for 515 yards as a rookie in 2017.
Kittle broke out with 1,377 receiving yards last year with Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello on the 49ers staff and the Broncos probably wouldn’t mind seeing their former Hawkeye follow a similar trajectory.