2014 NFL Draft: Pre-Season Breakdown – Kyle Van Noy, OLB BYU

Oct. 13, 2012; Provo, UT, USA; Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Kyle Van Noy (3) watches a play against the Oregon State Beavers during the second quarter at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas C. Pizac-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Van Noy was the most productive player on BYU’s defense this past year with an incredible 13 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, 5 pass break ups, 2 interceptions, 6 forced fumbles, 2 blocked kicks and 2 defensive touchdowns.  His production along with his talent as a versatile linebacker that played as a Leo linebacker lined up in a two-point stance as a standup end as well as looks as an inside linebacker really open up his options for potential positions he could play in the NFL.  As it stands right now, he is not big enough to play as a 3-4 outside linebacker but he could play as a 4-3 strong side linebacker and a 3-4 inside linebacker.  Between his ability to play multiple positions at a high level in Bronco Mendenhall’s scheme for the Cougars and the various skills that are NFL caliber, there is a good amount of potential for Van Noy and while he needs to add bulk by the time he gets to the NFL Draft, he stands as a top 100 pick right now with the potential to go much, much higher if he can add the weight without losing his athleticism and continues to be the stand out player Provo has become accustomed to watching.

Vitals & Build

Van Noy is listed at 6’3” 235lbs and is undersized for the NFL at this point.  He needs to add strength his frame and increase his overall bulk.  Van Noy demonstrates good quickness and agility in short areas with a high energy level and a good motor with solid overall stamina.  The good news for Van Noy is he appears to have the frame to easily continue adding weight and if he can get up to 240lbs, he will look good for a linebacker and if he can get up to 245-250lbs, he could be in the conversation as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

Tackling

For the most part, Van Noy displays good form and consistent technique as a tackler.  He wraps up and does a good job of having his feet under him to explode through the ball carrier.  Occasionally, he will lunge unnecessarily but he is not someone who misses many opportunities and gets the job done when it comes to making the play.  His use of form and technique also allows him to make powerful tackles and jar the ball loose.

Run Support

In his Leo role, he is often attacking up the field and does not have a ton of opportunities to make plays against the run, but he can use his quickness and agility to make blockers miss and be able to attack into the backfield.  He has done a pretty good job of holding the edge, maintaining heel’s depth, and working to collapse the hole to clog up running lanes.  Unblocked, he has the acceleration and speed to run down plays from behind.

As an inside linebacker, Van Noy would rather try to sift through trash and make blockers miss rather than take them on, which is effective when it works, but he is going to need to show that he can go through a guard’s block rather than simply going around them if he wants to stick there.

Coverage

Van Noy’s experience in coverage is limited as he is almost always attacking in one way or another, but when he does drop into coverage, he gets into his drops quickly and is able to flip his hips decently well.  He is better in zone with his instincts and range, but he has decent coverage skills in man coverage as well.  With a player like Van Noy as their primary pass rush option, it is difficult to have him drop into coverage outside of a changeup to confuse the offense or 3rd down and a ton, it is something he can do and another tool he brings to the table.  The fact he does not cover all that much is not because he is unable or a liability there.

Pass Rush & Blitz ability

Van Noy’s first step and snap anticipation are excellent and is often times able to get a fantastic jump on opposing offensive linemen and is often able to beat to turn the corner and get to the quarterback.  When he is able to work half the man, Van Noy does a good job of being slippery, using his hands and body to box out the offensive tackle from blocking him as he flattens out to the quarterback.  He also shows enough of an inside rush to keep opponents honest and give them enough to think about where he can keep them guessing.  There are times when he will fake outside to get the tackle to jump before attacking inside through the B gap to get to the quarterback.  While he is not overly heavy in terms of weight, he can be tough to block when he gets his momentum going against offensive tackles, though granted, some of them have not been high level competition where he piled up some of his sacks.  Van Noy shows decent hand use and can continue working but he is often times able to avoid ever really blocking blocked and keep separation from the opponent so he can slash at the quarterback or ball carrier.  When he does get blocked, he is often engulfed and overwhelmed.  If he is able to add strength, he could combat this far better than he did now and increase the number of opportunities he has to make plays.

Aside from his outside speed rush, Van Noy has also shown a spin move.  He does not use a quick, snap action spin move to get around opponents; rather a more deliberate methodical one that works around the player blocking him.  He may want to try to add a sped up version as a counter move, especially in situations where he offensive tackles are able to get outside quickly enough to get in front of him.  His hand fighting creates opportunities and allows him to beat blocks as well.  He is willing to attack up the field outside and uses his hands to enable to work back inside underneath the tackle as well as using a bull rush to keep opponents honest and when he can get a head of steam going, he can cause problems with it, especially if he can get to the inside half of the blocker.  While he has shown the ability to make the play and secure the sack on the first move, typically that outside speed rush, he has shown he can make plays on the second effort as well and rarely gives up on plays.  And with the Cougars defense playing to strengths, Van Noy has plenty of experience rushing from both sides as well as running stunts both from the edge and as an inside backer.

Van Noy has also shown to be an effective blitz option when lined up as an inside linebacker.  He not only has the quickness and acceleration to take advantage of holes when they present themselves, but he has a good sense of timing on when to attack when he is sent immediately or on delayed blitzes like when he is used in a spy type role.  He is not afraid to take on guards and try to beat them with quickness, power, or both.  His ability and willingness to attack the A and B gap could make him attractive to teams who like to blitz their inside backers.

He had an impressive number of fumbles caused, but he could refine his technique for how he goes about it.  Rather than simply hitting them as hard as he can while wrapping them up, he could make a more concerted effort to use his back arms to either swat the ball out or pin the quarterback’s throwing arm against his body.  Still, the results have been fantastic.

Special Teams

Van Noy has shown to be a standout on special teams for the Cougars blocking a pair of kicks this past year.  He has the quickness and ability to accelerate to get into the backfield and does a good job of reaching in front of the mesh point to avoid getting called for penalties for roughing the kicker.  In a game and a league where the more spots and situations a player can contribute, the better, Van Noy should be a welcome addition.

System Fit

This depends on how much bigger and stronger Van Noy can get.  If he can add the weight necessary, he could be a fit as an outside linebacker for a 3-4 team that wants quickness off the edge to get up the field.  Teams like Green Bay, Cleveland, and Houston could be fits in that scenario.  If he is picked by a 4-3 team, he could be used as a strong side linebacker or in the role made popular by Von Miller, where he plays outside linebacker on run downs and then puts his hand on the ground and rushes off the edge on passing downs.  Lastly, Van Noy could also be a potential fit for the 3-4 as weak inside linebacker.  His ability to sift through trash to make plays against the run as well as his ability to blitz make him an option there, but he does need to improve his ability to take on and shed blocks as well as his technique in coverage   There are also a few teams that will use a Leo backer like the Seahawks and could like him for that role as well.

Schedule

Sat, Aug. 31 at Virginia
Sat, Sept. 7 vs. Texas
Sat, Sept. 21 vs. Utah
Fri, Sept. 27 vs. Middle Tennessee State
Fri, Oct. 4 at Utah State
Sat, Oct. 12 vs. Georgia Tech
Sat, Oct. 19 at Houston
Fri, Oct. 25 vs. Boise State
Sat, Nov. 9 at Wisconsin
Sat, Nov. 16 vs. Idaho State
Sat, Nov. 23 at Notre Dame
Sat, Nov. 30 at Nevada

Notable Games

Right off the bat, Van Noy could face a decent test in Virginia; another year, another promising offensive tackle prospect in Charlottesville in Moses Morgan.  Notre Dame’s Zach Martin could be another matchup worth taking a look at and Wisconsin always has big, powerful offensive linemen which will give Van Noy the opportunity to flash his quickness and ability to get around the edge, but also force him to beat power in trying to attack the run.  It could be a similar situation when the Cougars host Texas week two in Provo, who have a pair of talented guards Trey Hopkins and Mason Walters.

NFL Comparison

Depending on what position he is drafted to play, he could end up looking similar to a pair of players.  First, if he could end up being a similar player as Shaun Phillips, former third round pick out of Purdue who has had a tremendous career with the San Diego Chargers and now is with the Denver Broncos.  Phillips is an edge rusher first, who has speed and the ability to get skinny as he bends around the edge to get pressure on the quarterback.  Phillips is a guy who also showed a knack for causing fumbles and getting the occasional interception and was just an incredible playmaker.

The other player that stands out as a comparison for Van Noy is recently drafted Sio Moore from Connecticut, who went in the third round to the Oakland Raiders.  Moore was a Swiss army knife in the Connecticut defense playing all over the place from an outside linebacker to a rush end to an inside linebacker, much like Van Noy.  Moore was a productive player and an extremely well prepared one going into the NFL just as Van Noy will be when he goes into the NFL.

Draft Projection

Before he attended BYU, Van Noy had a DUI and had to miss a year in compliance with their honor code.  Indications are that he has grown up in the four years since that incident and learned from it, but it is a small blip that NFL teams will want to check out.  His size and bulk are going to be the biggest concern with Van Noy, but he plays stronger than he looks and his instincts and intelligence for the game as illustrated by his ability to soak up knowledge in their scheme and how to play it will stand out, especially as he will likely have the opportunity to further prove himself at either the Senior Bowl.  As it stands now, Van Noy is a terrific college linebacker and looks the part of a top 100 pick but if he can add bulk, maintain his athleticism and prove himself against bigger, stronger opponents, he could vault himself up boards and potentially put himself in the first round discussion.

 

Topics: 2014 Mock Draft, 2014 NFL Draft, BYU Cougars Football, Inside Linebackers, Kyle Van Noy, Outside Linebackers

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