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Iowa's Noah Fant tied for the national lead in 2017 with 11 touchdown receptions by a tight end.

Iowa tight end Noah Fant could field NFL overtures after 2018 season

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ANSWER: Many, if not most, outlets will name junior Iowa tight end Noah Fant as a preseason All-American this summer. He was the most explosive tight end in the country last year with 16.5 yards per catch (most among tight ends) and 11 receiving touchdowns (tied for the most).

Fant’s numbers combine with a freaky athletic skill set that is matched by few tight ends. He not only stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 241 pounds, but his vertical jump of 42 inches would have tied for the third-best in NFL combine history. Fant caught 30 passes for 494 yards last year, but even more impressive is how he matches up with opponents. He beat an Ohio State corner on a go route, bested Nebraska’s entire secondary on a short out and sliced through Minnesota’s defense on a deep crossing pattern.

If Fant and the key offensive players around him stay healthy, his catches and yards should increase. Considering Dallas Clark won the Mackey Award in 2002 and left early for the NFL draft after 4 touchdown catches, I’m not sure the TD receptions matter as much as Fant’s impact plays and overall consistency.

ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay projects Fant as the No. 12 overall pick if he comes out early. My guess is Fant submits his name to NFL draft evaluators after the regular season. If he’s graded as a second-round pick or higher, just like former teammates James Daniels and Josh Jackson, Fant will leave early. The rule of thumb I use is if your body has eight years of football remaining and your draft stock wouldn’t be affected by another year in school, get paid for eight years of football, not seven.

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