From now until the 2019 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#87 Noah Fant/TE Iowa – 6’5 241
–He is more of an offensive weapon lining up on the line, slot, wing, or out wide.
–Fluid athlete that adjusts to poorly throw passes, digs in the dirt or skies above to make the reception
–Has extensive route concepts as he ran deep crosses, slants, fades, outs, and screens all equally well.
–Tracks the ball well in the air and can box out defenders while making contested catches, including bucket grabs using the sidelines
–Explosive off the line of scrimmage and has very loose hips which allow him to change directions quickly.
–Red zone threat as he had 7 touchdowns on 38 receptions in 2018.
–Soft blocker aka he gets in defenders way but doesn’t move them or get low.
–Doesn’t create much separation.
–Makes a lot of contested catches with defenders draped all over him.
–Traps too many passes against his frame when he could snare the pigskin cleanly.
–Occasionally will show a lapse of judgment on the play clock (Penn State game with a throw that should have been a touchdown became an interception).
–First Team Big Ten by league coaches and second team by league media.
–Was a high school basketball star and also excelled in track as a sprinter,high jumper, and triple jumper.
–In his college career at Iowa, Fant caught 78 passes for 1082 yards and 19 receiving touchdowns while rushing the ball 4 times for zero yards.
–His brother, Chris Fant, was his high school head coach.
On a 1st and 10, Fant is lined up on the line right beside the tackle. At the snap, the tight end gets high out of his stance, but maintains his contact with the defensive end. It looks more like they are dancing than anything else. While he does get in the defensive end’s way, the defender isn’t driven anywhere and it appears that the Hawkeye underhooks him to maintain contact. At the next level, a 4-3 defensive end will wear the playmaker like a hat and toss him aside when needed. In fact, an official should have thrown a penalty flag on this play.
Once again lined up as a tight end on a 2nd and 10, Fant is untouched off the line of scrimmage while racing eight yards downfield almost unnoticed. He reaches behind to snare the poorly thrown pass and ducks past the first defender he sees. The Hawkeye playmaker makes a nice cut, causing one defensive back to miss, and falls forward for a big gain. His wiggle is impressive for a man his size along with him adjusting to the poorly thrown ball.
On a 1st and goal with Iowa behind by only 6 with less than 4 minutes to play, #87 is split out chatting with his teammate instead of looking at the play clock. The ball gets snapped with a second left on the clock without Fant noticing that his fellow receiver has already released off the line of scrimmage. His quarterback is under immediate pressure and chucks the ball to where #87 should be. The receiver isn’t looking for the ball, but his corner is and intercepts the pass taking away a scoring opportunity.
Lined up in the slot on a 3rd and 7 play, Fant races into the outside linebacker at the snap. He uses the contact to create separation while turning himself around giving his quarterback a clear target. The signal caller sees the open man and fires to a leaping receiver who snares the pigskin at the sticks all while shielding it from the three defenders in the area.
Projection: late Day One or early Day Two
Games Watched: Penn State, Wisconsin, Indiana