ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — For stretches in 2020, Noah Fant looked like one of the league's best tight ends.
He caught five passes for 81 yards and a score in a half against the Titans, and he hauled in four receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown in a half vs. the Steelers. Against Buffalo, Fant caught a career-high eight passes for 68 yards and a touchdown.
When Fant was on and the offense was flowing through him, he was every bit as dangerous as All Pros George Kittle and Travis Kelce.
As the former first-round pick enters his third season with the Broncos, his focus is to turn impressive halves into dominant games. And when he can piece those games together, he'll truly have arrived as one of the NFL's top weapons at tight end.
"If I can play that consistent and get those catches, make those blocks [and do] all that consistently throughout the season and do that all year long and be at my highest level of play, the sky is the limit," Fant said Thursday. "Consistency is a big word I've been focusing on this year. I'm starting to figure things out, starting to be more knowledgeable about the game and starting to get those vet aspects to what I'm doing. Now, it's just consistency. Consistently being at the top level of play amongst the league. I'm not just competing with myself. I'm competing with every tight end across the league. There's some good ones, so I have to step up to that level."
Of course, Fant's production was far from average in 2020. He ranked sixth in receiving yards and seventh in receptions among tight ends. His goal, though, is to elevate his game from a clear top 10 player to the best at his position.
"I want to get to top 5 in the league," Fant said. "I want to be competing with Kelce, Kittle, [Raiders TE Darren] Waller and all those guys. That's always been the goal and that's always what I'm pushing for. The ultimate goal is to be the best in the league. We have to work to get there, and that's what I've been doing."
Fant should be among some of the best players in the game this summer, as he plans to attend the "Tight End U" summit that has been organized by Kittle and Kelce.
"I plan on going for sure," Fant said. "I've talked to George a little bit about it and I'm excited to go. I'm excited to learn from those guys. That's my biggest thing — try to take that moment to learn and see what those guys are doing and see how those guys see the game and learn from them in that aspect. It's kind of cool because Von [Miller] does the pass-rush summit, so these guys are starting that [on the] tight end side of things. I think that's going to be very beneficial not only to me but all the tight ends across the league. I'm excited to do that."
As Fant aims to take his next step, he has a teammate in the locker room who has had the impact on the organization that Fant would one day like to replicate. Earlier this week, Miller said Fant was his "favorite guy on the team" and that he "looks like a beast" as he enters Year 3. If Fant could come close to the impact that Miller has had for much of his career, a Pro Bowl and more should certainly be on the horizon.
"Von has helped me through a lot over these last couple years," Fant said. "I remember my rookie year and him constantly talking to me and helping me through growing pains. This last year and everything I've been through these last couple months, he's been there for me. It meant a lot. I think we've become closer over my span here. I just want to maximize my potential on the field and be that household name that he is for the Broncos. Help lead a team and do all those things that he's so great at. Following in his footsteps in that aspect is something that would be very beneficial to me and the team. I'm definitely excited that he sees something in me.
"It's my job to take that and keep grinding and push harder, because I have to prove it on the field."