The 49ers clearly have appreciation and respect for Iowa tight ends.
Although the club’s top offensive threat is George Kittle, the 49ers are still doing their homework on tight ends in the draft. The 49ers are scheduled to host Iowa tight end Noah Fant on a pre-draft visit this week, according to a source. Alex Marvez of Sirius XM NFL Radio was first to report the visit on Thursday.
Fant is not expected to be chosen with the 49ers’ No. 2 overall pick. Nor is he expected to remain available when the team is scheduled to pick next, at No. 36 overall. Fant becomes an option, perhaps, if the 49ers were to trade back in the first round or trade up from the second round.
The 49ers want to add another player to complement Kittle, who set the NFL record for receiving yards by a tight end with 1,377. Veteran Garrett Celek and Ross Dwelley, who appeared in 11 games as a rookie last season, are the only other tight ends on the 49ers’ roster.
Fant and his Iowa teammate, T.J. Hockenson, are widely considered the top tight ends in the draft. Fant (6-foot-4, 249 pounds) is an accomplished pass-catcher. He had 69 receptions for 1,013 yards and 18 touchdowns in his final two seasons in the run-focused Iowa offense.
Fant ran the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. His vertical leap was an impressive 39.5 inches – tops among all tight ends. Only five wide receivers jumped higher.
Among the other teams Fant has reportedly visited or will visit are the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots.