Former Hawkeye Noah Fant expected to be large part of Denver Broncos offense in 2021

Fant spent three years on the Iowa football team from 2016-19 as a fixture of the Hawkeyes offense.



Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (87) catches a ball during training camp at UCHealth Training Center on Aug. 11, 2019 in Englewood, Colo.

Ethan Brander, Sports Reporter

After a steady sophomore season with the Denver Broncos, Noah Fant is expected to be a large part of the Broncos offense in 2021-22.

Fant finished third on the Broncos offense — and 57th in the NFL — with 673 receiving yards in 2020-21, averaging 10.9 yards per carry.

The Omaha, Nebraska, native, spent two seasons on the Omaha South High School football team, garnering over 1,000 total yards and 20 touchdowns. In 2016, the three-star prospect committed to the University of Iowa over schools such as Nebraska and Iowa State.

In three seasons with the Hawkeyes, Fant split time at tight end with teammate T.J. Hockenson. Despite sharing time at the position, Fant put up 78 receptions, 1,083 yards, and 19 touchdowns during his collegiate career.

After his junior season in 2018-19, Fant declared for the NFL Draft.

Fant participated in the 2019 NFL Draft Combine, running a 4.50-second 40-yard dash. He completed 20 bench press reps at 225 pounds, standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 249 pounds.

Following the combine, Fant was rated the second-best tight end in the draft behind Hockenson and CBS Sports projected him to be selected in the first round.

During the pre-draft process, NFL media draft analyst Lance Zierlein compared Fant to 2018 Pro Bowl tight end Eric Ebron, who currently plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Zierlein added that Fant was a “pass-catching tight end with the length, acceleration and speed to create matchup challenges both short and long.”

In the 2019 NFL Draft, T.J. Hockenson was the first Hawkeye tight end off the board as he went No. 8 overall to the Detroit Lions.

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Fant was the second tight end picked in the draft, going 20th overall in the first round to the Denver Broncos.

In two seasons with the Broncos, Fant has steadily improved.

He played in all 16 of Denver’s games in his rookie season, finishing with 562 receiving yards — good for 13th among all tight ends in the 2019-20 season.

In 15 games with the Broncos in the 2020-21 NFL season, Fant had 62 receptions for 673 yards and three touchdowns. The Broncos have yet to make the postseason in Fant’s two years on the team.

In 2020-21, the Broncos experienced a carousel at quarterback, with five different players taking on the position throughout the 16-game season.

In the Broncos’ Week 12 game against the New Orleans Saints, Denver had to use practice squad receiver Kendall Hinton and running back Phillip Lindsay under center as all of its quarterbacks were inactive because of COVID-19 protocols.

In that game, Fant caught Denver’s only completed pass for a 13-yard gain.

While there are still questions over who will be the Broncos starting quarterback in the 2021-22 season, Fant is projected to have a similar impact on the field. During the Broncos’ training camp this summer, both Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock are vying for the starting quarterback position.

According to, Fant will be Denver’s starting tight end in 2021-22.