Any Broncos fans perusing ESPN's recent top-10 player rankings at each position may have raised their eyebrows a bit when they came across the tight ends last week.
The rankings were based off voting by ESPN's panel, which was comprised of more than 50 coaches, scouts, players and executives from across the league, interviews, research and film.
And after all that, Broncos tight end Noah Fant was left simply as an honorable mention.
"[He's] one of the most explosive players on this list," an AFC scout told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "I think we will be having a far different conversation about him a year from now; [he'll be] high on this list. Not quite there yet."
Broncos fans aren't the only people shocked by Fant's low ranking here, either. ESPN analyst and former NFL defensive lineman Marcus Spears said he thinks Fant should be in the top five.
"Listen, man. Noah Fant needs to be up there — and I wouldn't mind Noah Fant being fourth behind Kelce and Kittle and Waller," Spears said. "… Noah Fant and his explosiveness and what he had to deal with at the quarterback position last year, still being highly productive, I believe this dude is going to ascend to be in that conversation with the top three guys that you just mentioned."
The receiving stats back up Fant's case, too. Despite some up-and-down quarterback play last year, Fant ranked sixth among tight ends in receiving yards (673) and seventh in receptions (62) in 2020.
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Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer wrote a nice remembrance of former Broncos offensive line coach Alex Gibbs as part of his Monday Morning Quarterback column, and it includes some key insight from Ring of Fame former head coach Mike Shanahan.
"I think the biggest compliment you can give a coach is when you know that your players believe in you," Shanahan told Breer. "If you talk to all his offensive linemen, they have nothing but accolade after accolade about Alex Gibbs, the type of person he was, how hard he worked and the pride he took in what he did."