Route-Running - Too much gear down into his route breaks, needs to drop his hips and accelerate on out-breaking routes. Gets open consistently due to pure athleticism, but attention to detail will have to improve moving forward. Does run a diverse route tree and will enter the NFL with experience running a variety of routes from every alignment. Has flashed the ability to work over press coverage the few times teams dared to jam him when he was flexed.
Ball Skills - Hasn't made a living as an elevate and pluck guy, but is outstanding at tracking the ball over his shoulder down the field. Has flashed the ability to go up and get it in limited opportunities. Hands catcher who quickly tucks the rock away. Has shown good awareness to get his feet down in boundary catch situations. Smooth body control to twist and snag passes behind him. Very few drops.
Speed - Elite speed for a tight end. Probably going to run in the 4.5s. Consistently ran by defensive backs in man coverage. Wonderful vertical threat with the speed to separate even when he doesn't explode out of his route break on post and corner patterns. Impossible to account for him with a linebacker if he goes deep.
Run Blocking - Way better blocker than he's given credit for. Graded well as a move blocker and an in-line option. Technically sound and gets his hands inside the opponent to win first contact. Occasionally rag-dolled or falls off blocks, but for the most part stays latched and drives his feet into contact. Not a finisher, but competes to stay on his target. Good control in space to stalk his opponent and not overshoot his mark. Not asked to be the primary playside blocker or kick out defensive ends across the formation as often as T.J. Hockenson was.
Contested Catch - Every tight window throw I saw him involved in on tape, he came down with the football. Didn't see many "you got mossed" reps, but comfortable in traffic and undeterred by expiring windows or pending hits. Good concentration to reel the ball in over the middle of the field and through coverage.
YAC - Not creative or dynamic after the catch, but has the long speed to house call a short one. Typically brought down by first good tackle attempt, but can eliminate pursuit angles with his speed. Not a tackle-breaker and does his best work before and during the catch.
Separation Quickness - Outstanding athlete with smooth movement skills to separate. Can be guilty of gearing down and rounding his breaks off, will be more dangerous when he hits hard cuts at full speed. Must vary his pace more to lull off coverage to sleep. Raw ability to separate from man coverage is rare for a tight end, just needs some polish. Biggest issue is how much he gets hung up on contact in his routes, subtle defensive backs will get away with knocking him off his path in the NFL. Has to handle chips better at line of scrimmage.
Pass Protection - Rarely left in pass protection, but in few examples he handled himself well. Has the length and attention to detail to make it work, even if he isn't the most powerful blocker. Feet are smooth and he can mirror up the arc.
Competitive Toughness - Doesn't get enough credit for how much he gets after defenders. Willing blocker who competes. Isn't a grinder like Hockenson, but shows plenty of toughness in his playing style nonetheless. Has opted out of going out of bounds to put a shoulder down.
Athleticism/Size - Outstanding size, length and athleticism for the position. Should be a top tester in Indy. Some NFL teams may want him to add a little more bulk to his frame.
BEST TRAIT – Speed/Athleticism
WORST TRAIT – Route Running
RED FLAGS – None
Probably the best athlete at his position in the 2019 NFL Draft, Noah Fant has rare vertical ability for a tight end which should lead to him being a coveted mismatch option in April's draft. Fant can stretch the field, run a variety of routes and make tough catches outside his frame, all while being a fully capable in-line or flex blocker. Fant's route-running will definitely need to improve at the next level, and I'd love to see more creativity and elusiveness after the catch, but traits like his should not be on the board for long on April 25th. He's a guy you trust to figure out the details with good coaching in the NFL.
Round Grade: 1st