Noah Fant is heading to the Denver Broncos after being selected 20th overall.
After T.J. Hockenson was taken with the 8th pick, they become the first set Hawkeyes drafted in the first round since 1997 - sup Tom Knight and Ross Verba - and the third overall (1987 Chuck Long, Ronnie Harmon, Mike Haight).
Fant came to the Iowa Hawkeyes as the #1 prospect out of Nebraska as a 6’6”ish, 210-lb athlete despite a late push by his home state school to recruit him at defensive end. While he saw the field as a freshman with nine catches for 70 yards and a tuddy, he didn’t break out until George Kittle departed and a proper Doyle-ization.
His stellar 2017 campaign led the team with 11 touchdowns and he snagged 30 catches for 494 yards. The 16.5 yards per reception led the nation for tight ends. The 11 receiving touchdowns trail only Marvin McNutt’s 12 for the most in a season for a Hawkeye. As his sophomore highlights demonstrate, his game is built on speed.
He entered 2018 as the best tight end in the country and landed on Bruce Feldman’s “freaks list” at number six after setting offseason records during Iowa’s testing. While his receptions improved to 39, he didn’t take off in yards as his per catch settled in at 13.3 for 519 total. Tight end snaps and receptions became a bit of a zero-sum game with Mackey Award winner T.J. Hockenson with frustration culminating after a 14-10 loss to Northwestern which saw Fant on the field just nine times in the second half. He once again led the team with touchdowns at 7, which brought his 19 total to fourth all-time behind McNutt (28), Danan Hughes, (21) and Tim Dwight (21).
He blew away every other tight end at the combine. Player Profiler calls him a phenom for breaking out before turning 20 years old by their algorithm and grades him above the 96th percentile in every workout metric they have.
We thank Noah Fant for the memories he brought to us while sporting the black and gold and wish him the best as he heads to the National. Football. League.