TE Noah Fant Explains why 'Sky's the Limit' for his 2020 Expectations
Last season, Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant showed enough promise to more than justify his selection as the 20th overall player taken in the 2019 draft. The former Iowa product caught 40 passes for 562 yards, a hat-trick of scores that led all rookie players at his position and set new franchise records for a rookie tight end.
Learning the inherent complexities of combining blocking and route running assignments can often find rookie tight ends getting lost in the long grass of detail. Fant toughed things out and found his feet during the second half of his rookie year, making several splashy plays that proved he belonged at the top level.
The 22-year-old is confident that he can now build on his rookie experience and blossom into a truly elite-level tight end in Year 2.
“Just being in that second year, you are a lot more comfortable in our offense,” Fant recently told the team site. “Just knowing where you’re supposed to be, knowing where you’re going. All these different things that give you just a better [comfort level] and let you relax a little bit more on the field. It definitely feels a lot better than even last year, just from the start of this year.”
Pat Shurmur recently arrived to breathe some life into what was a stale offense under Denver's previous offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello. Shurmur, a two-time NFL head coach, will install a much more wide open and tight end-friendly scheme that could see Fant put up some big numbers this season.
It'll be crucial that Fant gets his head around how the system works, but the former first-round pick is confident he can do just that.
“Going into Year 2, I know more,” Fant explained. “I know more about defense, more about [opposing] teams, know more about our offensive system. I feel like the sky’s the limit.”
Throughout the offseason, a wave of optimism has washed over the young core of talent GM John Elway has assembled. Fant's personal goals for 2020 will set the bar extremely high.
“I have the highest expectations for myself,” Fant promised. “I want to be one of the best to ever do it. I don’t look at pressure from fans or anything. If I live up to my expectations, nobody will have ever expected these things. I don’t like to look at it as pressure, but just as a goal to achieve [and] motivation to reach that goal and get to that level.”
If Fant can live up to his own high expectations, the Broncos offense will have a unique set of weapons that their opponents will find extremely hard to defend against. By drafting Drew Lock’s Missouri teammate Albert Okwuegbunam, the Broncos now boast a pair of tight ends who can run like wide receivers in the passing game.
Fant’s ambitious goals to elevate his own play to a much higher level will certainly set himself up for criticism should he fall short. Fant appears to be looking career-wise, with his sophomore year providing the springboard to much bigger things.
“I don’t want to be an average tight end, I want to be one of the greatest to do it," Fant said.
Broncos Country is buzzing at the prospect of him backing up his words in 2020 and beyond.