Kyle Van Noy | 6'3, 235 pounds | Outside linebacker | BYU | Senior
2012 Stats: 37 tackles, 15 assisted, 22 tackles for loss, 13 sacks
The buzz surrounding Kyle Van Noy in late December was real. Then a junior, Van Noy had just blown up in the Poinsettia Bowl against San Diego State, collecting three sacks and establishing himself as the best player on the field.
But he decided to stay in school, despite the considerable amount of momentum he had established to that point. As a result, he enters the 2013 season as one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft class.
Lacking the ideal build of a pass rusher, Van Noy has been one of the most productive players in college football over the last two seasons. But how will those statistics translate to the NFL?
What he does well
Van Noy's tackle for loss numbers jump off the stat sheet. He's constantly in the backfield making plays and disrupting what the offense is doing in both the running and passing games. What stands out about Van Noy is that despite a lack of size and strength, he understands how to use leverage and is polished in the use of his hands, giving him the ability to beat blocks and disengage in a hurry. Van Noy has no trouble locating the football and is able to react quickly. He's a sound tackler that takes the appropriate angle and most players and wraps up well.
As a pass rusher, Van Noy has a few tools that should translate to the NFL game. Again, his hand use is advanced in this area. His frame isn't ideal, but he keeps blockers out of his pads and bends the corner well. He anticipates the snap well and makes life tough on blockers with his fluidity in space.
Von Noy looks comfortable in space and when dropping back in coverage. He's able to turn and run with tight ends but has the physicality to disrupt them at the line of scrimmage as well. It's also worth noting that Van Noy has the body control and ball skills to disrupt passes Van Noy's effort and open field speed are both evident in both coverage and run defense. He never gives up on a play and has the speed to make tackles in the open field. By all accounts, he is a leader for the BYU team.
What he needs to improve on
In order to succeed as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, Van Noy would need to add weight to his 230-pound frame. He has strong hands and can shed blockers, but he still need to add more overall strength. He's not the most explosive player in that his first step isn't quite as strong as the likes of Anthony Barr or even Morgan Breslin. H's a well-rounded athlete, but doesn't explode off the line of scrimmage in the same way, despite his snap anticipation.
Van Noy appears to fit well as a strong side linebacker in a 4-3 defense. His ability to cover but also blitz off the edge will intrigue NFL defensive coordinators. Van Noy's versatility is his biggest calling card. A well-rounded athlete, plus leader and intelligent player, Van Noy is worthy of first-round consideration. If he builds on the momentum he generated in BYU's bowl game, he will continue to climb boards.
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