Here at SideLion Report, we are previewing potential Detroit Lions‘ targets as the draft draws closer. Today, we look at Iowa tight end Noah Fant.
The most wonderful time of the year for the Detroit Lions is less than three weeks away, and with that mind, we will be previewing a few draftees that we think would be ideal Lions should they be drafted by Detroit at the end of the month.
Any Detroit fan that watched the Lions this season knows that they could use another tight end, as tight ends Levine Toilolo, Luke Willson and Michael Roberts combined to put up less yards and touchdowns than former Lions tight end Eric Ebron, who doesn’t seem to miss donning the Honolulu blue one bit,
Detroit has already addressed this issue earlier this offseason, as they signed former Pittsburgh Steeler tight end Jesse James. While James is a step in the right direction, adding another athletic tight end to play alongside James could help elevate the Lions’ passing game to an elite level.
When looking at athletic tight ends in this year’s draft, Iowa’s Noah Fant tends to be the first name mentioned. Fant dropped a few jaws at the NFL combine with his speed, running a 4.5 second 40 yard dash at 6’4″ and just under 250 pounds.
That speed has been the main reason why Fant has been able to get open in his three years as a Hawkeye. Similar to Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce, Fant excels in the seams of defenses, and has the speed to break away from NFL secondary.
Fant put up impressive numbers in his 30 games with the Hawkeyes, totaling 78 receptions for 1,093 yards and 19 touchdowns, with 7 of those coming last season. Fant’s artful performances the past two seasons earning him back-to-back All-Third team honors in the Big Ten, a conference typically known for it’s strong crop of tight end talent.
It’s worth mentioning that Fant was able to put these impressive numbers despite sharing the field with another first round tight end talent in former teammate T.J. Hockenson, who we covered on this site a month ago.
While Hockenson is typically being hailed more for his presence in the middle of the field and in blocking, Fant may be more successful in the NFL because of his NFL speed, consistency in the red zone, prowess on jump balls and ability to get open in the seams of the defense.
A former high school basketball player who also excelled in the high jump and triple jump, Fant knows how to receive the ball at it’s high point. As seen in these highlights, after catching the ball, Fant has the elusiveness to move past linebackers and make the secondary miss as he sprints along the sideline.
Earlier this week, general manager Bob Quinn made it clear to the rest of the NFL that he would be more than happy to move back in the draft with all the talent in this year’s group. If Quinn is to get his wish, Fant could be a snag for the Lions either late in the first round or early in the second and could turn into the reliable pass-catching tight end that Eric Ebron never was.