Oct 21, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (87) makes a catch during warmups before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos activate TE Noah Fant from reserve/COVID list

The Denver Broncos activated tight end Noah Fant from the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday in advance of Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Fant, who is second on the team with three touchdown catches, was placed on the list Nov. 2. The former 20th overall draft pick in 2019 out of Iowa is second on the team in receptions (37) and third in receiving yards (320) through eight starts.

The 23-year-old has 139 receptions for 1,555 yards and nine touchdowns in 39 games (33 starts).

Also on Tuesday, the Broncos were awarded a waiver claim on cornerback Mac McCain III from the Eagles. Denver also signed cornerback Duke Dawson Jr. to its practice squad.

McCain, a rookie out of North Carolina A&T, played on special teams for the Eagles in a Week 3 game against the Dallas Cowboys. The 23-year-old was originally signed as a undrafted free agent by the Broncos in May before being placed on the team’s practice squad and then getting signed to the Eagles’ active roster.

Dawson, a second-round draft pick by the New England Patriots in 2018, has 26 games of NFL experience (four starts) all with the Broncos in 2019 and 2020. The 26-year-old knocked down two passes with one fumble recovery and made 27 tackles over two seasons.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (87) makes a catch during warmups before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos place TE Noah Fant on COVID list

The Denver Broncos placed starting tight end Noah Fant on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday.

Fant shares the team lead in touchdown catches (three), and ranks second in receptions (37) and third in receiving yards (320) through eight starts.

Fant, 23, has 139 receptions for 1,555 yards and nine touchdowns in 39 games (33 starts) since Denver drafted him in the first round (20th overall) in 2019.

The Broncos (4-4) face the Dallas Cowboys (6-1) on Sunday in Arlington, Texas.

If Fant can’t clear the COVID protocols in time, Denver would look to tight ends Albert Okwuegbunam, Eric Saubert and Andrew Beck for more production.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (87) is tackled by New York Jets strong safety Bradley McDougald (30) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Broncos TE Fant’s ankle injury considered minor

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant isn’t expected to be sidelined for long after being carted to the locker room with an injured ankle during Thursday’s game against the New York Jets.

ESPN reported on Friday morning that Fant’s injury is considered to be a minor one.

Fant sustained an ankle injury with six minutes to play in the third quarter. He was carted off the field and then ruled out during the fourth quarter.

Fant, 22, had five receptions for 35 yards on Thursday for the Broncos (1-3), who recorded their first win with a 37-28 victory over the winless Jets (0-4).

Fant has collected 19 catches for 219 yards and two touchdowns in four games this season. He has 59 receptions for 781 yards and five touchdowns in 20 career games since being selected with the 20th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

Sep 14, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (87) before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Broncos lose Hamler, Fant to injury

The Denver Broncos saw their tough run of injury luck continue Thursday night as they lost both tight end Noah Fant and wide receiver KJ Hamler to injuries during their 37-28 win over the New York Jets.

Both were ruled out prior to the game’s conclusion in East Rutherford, N.J.

Hamler left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury. He didn’t catch any passes.

Fant sustained an ankle injury with six minutes to play in the third quarter. He was carted off the field and then ruled out during the fourth quarter.

Fant, a first-round pick out of Iowa in 2019, had five receptions for 35 yards on the night. He entered the game with 14 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns through three games this season. He had 40 catches for 562 yards and three scores as a rookie.

Hamler has six grabs for 78 yards and no touchdowns this year. The speedster was taken in the second round out of Penn State in the 2020 draft.

The Broncos improved to 1-3 while playing their third starting quarterback of the season, Brett Rypien. Week 1 starter Drew Lock sustained a shoulder sprain in Week 2 and has been out since. Jeff Driskel replaced him and started last week against Tampa Bay but was ineffective and benched late for Rypien.

Starting receiver Courtland Sutton was lost for the season to a knee injury in Week 1, and running back Phillip Lindsay was held out of Thursday’s game because of turf toe.

The Broncos’ injured reserve list is becoming a bit of a star-studded lineup in itself, with Sutton joined by linebacker Von Miller (ankle), defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (biceps) and cornerback A.J. Bouye (shoulder) on a list that had 11 players entering Thursday night. Casey is out for the season while Miller and Bouye may return this year.

–Field Level Media

2019 NFL Draft Preview – TEs

For a position where age often wins out, this year is a uniquely youthful group of underclassmen with lots of pass-catching potential. This projection hinges on how many will actually enter the 2019 draft. Some of the top talents will break in new quarterbacks while others must continue growing physically. UCLA’s Caleb Wilson and Iowa’s Noah Fant are vying for the preseason crown, but I’m eager to see if a dark horse emerges as the top talent. Wilson is the classic every-down workhorse, while Fant is the explosive playmaker.
1. Caleb Wilson, UCLA (6’4″ 235lbs.)
• Many will remember Wilson as the centerpiece of the Bruins historic comeback against Texas A&M, but the former USC walk-on was more than a one-game wonder in 2017. Wilson was on a torrid pace with 490 yards and one touchdown on 39 receptions in just five games before his season was cut short due to a foot injury.

© Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

2. Noah Fant, Iowa (6’5″ 232lbs.)
• Little separates Fant from Wilson, and it may come down to preference – so understand this is a 1a, 1b ranking. As Fant continues adding to his frame his appeal will only increase. The 2017 Big Ten touchdown leader (11) regardless of position can score in and out of the red zone and possesses mouthwatering athleticism.
3. Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri (6’5″ 260lbs.)
• An exciting passing-game threat, particularly in the red zone, he caught 11 touchdowns as a redshirt-Freshman last season. I suspect if he produces comparable numbers in 2018 then Okwuegbunam could leave school early with his graduating quarterback Drew Lock. Physically speaking, he’s already mature and ready for the pro level.
© Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

4. Tommy Sweeney, Boston College (6’5″ 255lbs.)
• Lacks the speed and athleticism to punish defenses, but there’s probably not a safer, more complete player available at the position. Sweeney blocks in-line competently, will move chains as a receiver, and has some yard-after-catch ability. I’ve noticed he has a good feel for soft zones in the passing game.
5. Kaden Smith, Stanford (6’5″ 259lbs.)
• The latest creation from a developing tight end factory at Stanford, Kaden Smith is a physically impressive athlete with desired length and movement skills to impose as a receiver. Another year of sustained production could convince Smith to make the pro leap.
Honorable Mention: Tyler Petite, USC (6’4″ 250lbs.)
• It’s apparent that Petite has plenty of untapped ability as a pass-catcher, as he generated a lot of positive momentum in that regard with Sam Darnold under center in 2017. Petite’s got an otherwise all-around game and if he can maintain his annual growth in production he’ll enter the NFL as a polished option for any team.