Assessing Noah Fant’s second season as Broncos tight end faces high expectations from fanbase, franchise


Halfway through Noah Fant’s second season, there’s reasons for optimism — and room for improvement — for the Broncos’ tight end.

After being selected No. 20 overall last year, Fant posted 40 catches for 562 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie, the most receptions and receiving yards by a first-year tight end in franchise history.

This year, while battling injuries to his ankle and now his ribs, Fant has 35 catches for 367 yards in eight games. He has two touchdowns, but no scores since Week 2, and ranks fourth in receiving yards per game among qualifying tight ends at 45.9. That’s just behind the league’s premier trio at the position in Kansas City’s Travis Kelce, San Francisco’s George Kittle and Las Vegas’ Darren Waller.

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So how has Fant’s 2020 performance been viewed within the organization? Prior to last Sunday’s Raiders’ game, Fant gave himself a B-minus, while coach Vic Fangio said this week that the tight end has “pretty much met” second-year expectations.

“Obviously all of us would like him to have more touches, more yards, more touchdowns — that’s just normal,” Fangio said. “Noah’s made good strides from year one to year two and I expect him to continue that. He’s got the right mindset, he’s a good worker, he’s prideful and he’s a competitor. I see the improvements daily from him.”

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Fant’s on pace to finish with 66 catches for 883 yards this year, which would be a significant uptick in production from 2019. But even the tight end admits that “I feel like I can offer a lot more.”

That includes hauling in more of the passes that come his way (he’s caught two-thirds of his 53 targets) as well as being a bigger force in the red zone.

“I still want to keep improving and keep playing a bigger role in the offense — and keep blocking (well) — just doing all those things that an every-down tight end needs to do,” Fant said.

Fant’s 75 receptions for 929 yards rank first in team history for a tight end’s first 24 games. The 71 yards he needs to hit 1,000 is attainable Sunday against Miami if Fant is in the lineup (questionable, ribs). But Fant hasn’t had that big …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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