ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Noah Fant isn’t content to be average.
As the 2019 first-round pick heads into his second NFL season, his standards are far higher.
“I have the highest expectations for myself,” Fant told DenverBroncos.com on Friday. “I want to be one of the best to ever do it. I don’t look at pressure from fans or anything. If I live up to my expectations, nobody will have ever expected these things. I don’t like to look at it as pressure, but just like as a goal to achieve [and] motivation to reach that goal and get to that level.
“I don’t want to just be an average tight end. I want to be one of the greatest to do it.”
In fairness, Fant was better than average in 2019, especially when compared to his fellow rookies. He led all rookie tight ends in catches (40) and receiving yards (562), and he ranked second in touchdown receptions (three). He also posted a pair of 100-yard receiving games. As Fant reviewed his first season, though, he saw plenty of missed opportunities and a need for increased consistency.
“I saw that all over the place,” Fant said. “I was a rookie. I was up and down, I was side to side — any direction you could go. I flashed really good plays of greatness and some really bad plays. Basically, just going into Year 2, obviously [I] to negate those bad plays and have overall better consistency. I feel like as a rookie putting up almost 600 yards and three touchdowns, that was a good starting point for me, but I also wanted to do a lot better. I left a lot of yards and a lot of touches out there on the field.”
Fant has reason to believe that the combination of his increased experience and new Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur’s system should help him better take advantage in 2020.
“Just being in that second year, you are a lot more comfortable in our offense,” Fant said. “Just knowing where you’re supposed to be, knowing where you’re going. All these different things that give you just a better [comfort level] and let you relax a little bit more on the field. It definitely feels a lot better than even last year, just from the start of this year.”
The Iowa product flashed enough in 2019 to suggest consistent great play could be on the horizon. After a slow start to the season, he dominated both against Cleveland in Week 9 and against Houston in Week 14. Fant said that Texans’ contest was among his favorites of the year, as he posted four catches for 113 yards and a score in Drew Lock’s first road start. His touchdown catch — a third-down throw on a rope from Lock to Fant — was the young tight end’s favorite play of the season.
“It was a tight, contested catch,” Fant said. “That was my first touchdown catch from Drew. That was a moment that just was pretty cool, especially me and Drew being in the same class.”