With the Packers upgrading their defense through free agency last week, General Manager Brian Gutekunst could elect to add to the offense with the 12th overall pick in the NFL draft.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about Iowa Tight End T.J. Hockenson. But in recent weeks, several mock drafts have Hockenson being selected well before the Packers hit the clock. A couple of the mocks have him being selected at number 7 by the Jacksonville Jaguars. But, there is another Iowa tight end who could be there at 12 for the Packers and that is Noah Fant.
Noah Fant is a first round selection, and probably won’t be around with the Packers select at number 30. If Gutekunst wants to add a tight end, he may have to do it at number 12.
The former Iowa Hawkeye scored 11 touchdowns and 494 yards in 2017 and 8 touchdowns and 519 yards in 2018. He is not the blocker that his former teammate T.J. Hockenson is, but he makes up for it in his pass catching abilities. He is the type of tight end that is a deep threat down the middle of the field. Fant has the physical ability to make an immediate impact on the passing game.
With Randall Cobb departing in free agency, new head coach Matt Lafleur could opt to run two tight end sets that would feature Jimmy Graham and Noah Fant. Then on running downs, Mercedes Lewis, who is the better blocker would come in and provide more meat up front to open up the running lanes.
Fant is 6 foot 4 inches tall and weighs 249 pounds. Providing the height necessary to go up and get a jump ball over opposing middle linebackers. Even at that height and weight, Fant reportedly ran that 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds the NFL combine. The puts him right up there with some of the fastest wide receivers in the combine. The speed would come in handy as the Packers offense has been lacking the necessary speed to beat the defenders.
Now, the Packers have resigned both Jimmy Graham and Mercedes, plus they still have Robert Tonyan on the roster. Selecting a tight end of Fant’s stature would provide the Packer with a tight end of the future, something that they have been missing since Jermichael Finley.
Noah Fant has good route-running ability and excellent burst to get open, hence is 40-time. Once he catches the ball, he won’t overpower the defender but he has the agility of a running back to make defenders miss in the open field. Remember the wide receiver screens that the Packers have utilized, if new head coach Matt Lafleur keeps those in the playbook, Fant would be a good candidate to run the tight end screens.
After the free agent signing last week, General Manager Brian Gutekunst provided himself with plenty of flexibility with the draft. He used free agency to set-up the draft, allowing him to select the best possible player who could make an immediate impact. If Packers brass decides to go offense with their 12th pick, former Iowa Hawkeye Noah Fant could be the selection.
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag
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9 thoughts on “Green Bay Packers Draft Prospects: Tight End Noah Fant”
I think we need to observe a few things.. We have Jimmy Graham who is looking to break out. We also re-signed Marcedes Lewis. Why create a lodge at one position when we are still missing key pieces?The Oline needs a Lil more help, ok more than a lil help. We have no #2 receiver whom needs to be a difference maker not just a playmaker. I’m not sold at running back either. Who fills the Inside linebacker hole. I’m very pleased with the moves thus far, but we’re not there yet
All great points, but we can’t be hamstrung by what we need now either. Yes we have Jimmy, but he’s older and a huge cap hit. Fant could be our starter next year. Outside of that, think of two TE sets though. MLF wants to run the ball and Mercedes is a great blocking TE, but slow and not a receiving threat. Having both Fant (or Hock or Irv) on the field with Jimmy could give even more flexibility.
Overall, Fant is a great TE who fills ‘some’ need this year, but overall we can’t be scared to take a better player bexbeca of where they may fit on the roster. Personally, I’d take Fant or Hock, just trade back a couple spots, pick up a pick and then draft them.
Excellent point Chris. What Gute did an excellent job doing this off-season is addressing the glaring weaknesses (OLB/Pass Rush & Safety), added a starting Guard which set him nicely for the draft. The Packers MUST start the offense. It’s been ignored far to long. When looking at this draft fans should look ahead to the potential FA losses they’ll have next season.
The Packers will ABSOLUTELY need a TE next season. They also may need a ILB depending if Burks is able to prove himself and if they want to keep Martinez. They’ll also need a RT next season and I’d say Safety is still a concern, especially next season when Williams is gone.
I’ve seen a TON of Mocks where GB selects a TE and O-Linemen in the first and a Safety in the 2nd for example. Now if Oliver is there at 12 that would be tough to pass up since Daniels is in his final year of his current contract. We need to START looking at what we’ll need in 2020 when we look at this years draft.
I can’t understand all this hype about taking a tight-end in the first round. Sure they’re very good players but the Packers need to look forward to next season (2020) when they’re in dire straits as regards the salary cap, while needing to resign some key players who become free-agents. The numbers simply don’t add up. Therefore they must prepare replacements at inside linebacker, DL and OL with players selected high up from this year’s draft.
Looking at all the mock drafts so far I only see one possible wide receiver coming off the board before the 12th pick. Buffalo should go offensive line with their first pick. Why not take this opportunity to pick the best wide receiver in the draft at 12. Yes,there are three excellent tight ends in this draft which is rare,but teams hardly ever draft a tight end with the first pick. Having that extra pick in the first at 30 is an ideal spot to draft Fant. I’m in favor of making our first three picks on the offensive side for a change. A plug and play offensive lineman would be nice for a change at 44. Come week one of the season we won’t have Rodgers running for his life. If not a lineman then why not a running back early who might see playing time early in the season should Aaron Jones get hurt again. We need to stop wasting the back nine of Arod’s career.
Surprises happen every day come draft day and I’m sure a player who we never thought could be there will drop right in our lap at 12. Having two picks in the first is amazing and we could even trade up again from the 30th pick if another game changer is there at wide receiver or tight end. We shouldn’t neglect the fact that having another wide receiver like Marquise or A,J, Brown would make our offense explosive again.
One thing about Graham , he’s so slow moving after he’s caught the ball . His size is good , but , how many times did they use him in the end zone last year … Fant sounds good if he’s still around , height is perfect and speed is there , good choice I think …
The Packers better draft the tight end they want at 12. I know the Patriots will be moving up the board to replace Gronk with the tight end they want in the first. GUARANTEED!!!!
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