While tight end is not the most pressing need for the Minnesota Vikings, we have seen in the past where talent trumps need when it comes to the early rounds of the NFL Draft.
Noah Fant will wow you with his receiving ability as a tight end. We have watched the tight end position evolve into the more freakish athletic types with guys like Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Travis Kelce, and so on.
Fant fits the mold of these guys as he is the type of player that can change an offense. During his time at Iowa he was a constant mismatch for opposing defenses.
Fant will be in the mix to be one of the first tight ends off the board during the 2019 NFL Draft. He has the skills to come in as a rookie and put up some good sized numbers next season.
While Fant gets all the love for his ability to catch the ball, don’t completely brush off his blocking ability. Yes it needs to improve, but as it stands now, he is better at it than he gets credit for.
Noah Fant – TE (Iowa)
Height: 6-foot-5 | Weight: 240 pounds
- Extremely athletic for a tight end
- Soft hands
- Runs clean, crisp routes
- Makes plays after the catch
- Will be a continuous mismatch against opposing linebackers
- Will contribute early in his NFL career
- Won’t wow you as a blocker
- Needs to beef up his frame
- Questionable speed (will be one to watch when it comes to 40 times)
Where he fits with the Minnesota Vikings:
Lets be honest, tight end is not Minnesota’s highest priority this offseason. But this is the NFL Draft we are talking about. Stranger things have happened.
So while Vikings nation will be hoping for an offensive lineman to be selected at pick No. 18, they must also be realistic and look at other possibilities.
Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph had another good season in 2018 with 64 receptions and 634 yards. But Rudolph is also 29-years-old and he has a contract that the front office needs to take a hard look at this year.
By no means should anyone think Rudolph is in jeopardy of not coming back in 2019, but at some point the Vikings need to start preparing for life after their veteran tight end.
With the investment Minnesota has made in Kirk Cousins, they need to continue to add as many offensive weapons as possible. Having a combo of Rudolph and Fant along with Diggs and Thielen on the outside would equate to a pretty powerful offense for the Vikings in 2019.
We all watched this past season as the top teams in the NFL put up a ridiculous amount of points. Don’t be surprised to see teams like Minnesota go for more offensive firepower in this year’s draft even when it isn’t their biggest need.
Yes the Vikings did spend a fifth-round pick on Tyler Conklin last year, but the jury is still out on him. When given the opportunity in 2018, Conklin didn’t rise to the occasion.
Why he could fall:
Teams get scared off about Fant’s blocking ability. Other tight ends like Alabama’s Irv Smith and fellow Iowa teammate T.J. Hockenson will be pushing heavily to be the first two tight ends off the draft board this year, causing Fant to possibly fall into round two.
Why he could rise:
Teams fall in love with the fact Fant is ready to be tossed onto the field come day one. He has been one of the best in college football and he has proven to be the real deal at the position.
NFL Draft Projection
Fant likely ends up coming off the board early in round two with the chance of being taken late round one. A team like the New England Patriots could take a long, hard look at him. Fant could also be a guy a team trades back into the first round for.
Projection: Late first round, early second round
(For more NFL Draft-related content from Matt Falk, head on over to SkolHole.com and check out his work.)