The general consensus surrounding the 2019 NFL Draft class is that there's a very limited pool of top shelf offensive talent. That perception will shift slightly after the latest news, which is that Iowa TE Noah Fant is throwing his hat into the ring. Fant declared for the 2019 NFL Draft this morning, joining Mississippi's D.K. Metcalf as a big bodied pass catcher jumping into the Draft pool early.
Fant entered the season as the consensus top rated tight end by our staff here at The Draft Network and set career highs in receptions and receiving yards. Fant is an explosive receiving threat who should find much more production in the NFL, as his size, speed and contested catch ability will make him a dynamic mis-match tailor made for today's NFL. From his summer scouting report:
"Noah Fant is of the most freakish athletes in all of college football. Reported 42.5” vertical from spring camp, which would be a top score out of the 2018 NFL Combine. Has unbelievable blend of size and speed. Graceful in the open field and will be a mismatch nightmare for safeties and linebackers across the league. Has big play ability as a receiver, averaging 16.5 yards per catch. Tallied 11 touchdowns on just 30 overall receptions as a first-time starter in 2017."
Fant's declaration should plant him firmly atop the 2019 Tight End class. Although he lacks the blocking chops that previous generations of tight ends would have required, he's an absolute nightmare in the secondary and in the red zone. Fant has a more dynamic skill set than the likes of Kaden Smith and Albert Okwuegbunam, he's capable of running by soft coverage by safeties or linebackers.
But there's another Hawkeye tight end who may have more to say about that status of TE1 in 2019. Redshirt sophomore T.J. Hockenson is a stud in his own right, although he's more of a traditional prospect. Will he also strike while the iron is hot? The subtraction of Hockenson AND Fant would be a brutal blow to the Hawkeyes. The duo was the team's leading receivers this past season.
Time will tell. But until then, teams have to be licking their chops at the prospects of adding Fant to their skill groups.