Hawkeyes tight end Noah Fant a high pick in 'way-too-early' 2019 mock draft

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

Let's make sure to stress: It's called a "way-too-early" mock NFL draft for a reason. 

And in unveiling his "way-too-early" 2019 mock, ESPN analyst Todd McShay emphasized that point.

But it's still worth noting that there's an Iowa Hawkeye junior high on his board.

Iowa's Noah Fant celebrates the Hawkeyes' 55-24 win over No. 6 Ohio State at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017.

McShay's post Thursday morning on ESPN Insider (subscription required) listed tight end Noah Fant as being selected with the No. 12 pick of the 2019 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.

McShay didn't post any additional analysis on Fant beyond mentioning he led the Big Ten Conference in touchdown receptions (11) a year ago and averaged 16.5 yards per catch. But he did peg Fant as his No. 1 tight end on the board.

Yes, the next draft is 12 months away. Declaring for the draft is 8 months away.

But it's also an early signal that if Fant (6-foot-5, 241 pounds) has a strong junior season, he'll be a strong candidate to follow in the path of James Daniels and Josh Jackson (both second-round picks in last week's draft) and leave Iowa a year early.

McShay's article pointed out that he hasn't begun to study film for the 2019 draft yet. He also mentioned that 12 of the 32 players (37.5 percent) he featured in last year's "way-too-early" first round indeed were chosen in the first round.

For what it's worth.