Noah Fant is under a lot of pressure.
It’s just a reality of being a first round pick in the NFL.
Selected at No. 20 overall, Fant was actually the second tight end off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft. The first happened to be his teammate at Iowa, T.J. Hockenson, who went No. 8 to the Detroit Lions.
There’s pressure on Fant to prove a tight end was a worthy selection by John Elway.
Sitting at No. 10, fans were salivating at the possibility of Devin Bush joining this already elite defense.
Instead Elway decided to move back and the Pittsburgh Steelers promptly took the Michigan inside linebacker off the board.
That adds pressure to Fant.
The most glaring hole in Denver’s defense could have been addressed, and instead the franchise went in a completely different direction.
If Bush is a Pro Bowler, Fant better be an All-Pro.
There’s no one in town who doesn’t think Noah Fant isn’t under pressure. Except, perhaps, Noah Fant.
This quote caused quite the stir when he delivered it to a media scrum after Broncos’ training camp on Sunday.
“I don’t really feel pressure. I feel like my expectations for myself are pretty high. I feel like when my expectations for myself exceed everyone else’s, I don’t really feel pressure from everyone else. But that’s back by my work ethic and what I do out here every day and pushing myself,” Fant said.
Sports talk radio hosts immediately pounced on the comment, saying Fant didn’t understand the position he was in as a first round pick of the Denver Broncos.
Whispers turned public, as a popular host in town said Fant looked out of shape. Stories of Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton getting on the young man for not finishing plays were hashed and re-hashed.
It was pretty harsh criticism for a guy who’s barely been on the field a week.
In fact, it reached the point where Fant himself felt the need to respond. Someone should tell the kid to listen to music, not the shock jocks, on his way to and from work.
“I’d say those takes are pretty bogus,” Fant told Benjamin Allbright and Ryan Edwards on KOA News Radio Tuesday night.
“Of course there’s pressure coming in as a first round pick, there’s pressure coming in being a rookie and there’s pressure to win games. I feel all of those pressures but the pressure I add on myself is going to be leaps and bounds over that,” Fant added.
You know what I say? Lay off him.
Fant’s response was very well thought out (you can read it here) and one quote shouldn’t define how we feel about him. In fact, the whole “controversy” feels a bit manufactured, with Fant even feeling the need to address it looking a bit silly.
We won’t know what Fant can bring to this team until Week 1 against the Raiders. In fact, we may not know until the 2019 season concludes. Joe Flacco loves to throw to tight ends, and Fant can be the best one the Broncos have had since Julius Thomas.
There’s no question there’s all kinds of pressure on Noah Fant, but let’s not put even more on him by overreacting to one answer gone slightly wrong.