Even with as intriguing of a prospect as BYU‘s Kyle Van Noy, he is also an unknown. He provides tremendous potential because of his ability to disrupt the passing game as well as to be a big-time playmaker. Van Noy shocked many draft experts when he decided to return for his senior season, following a junior year which saw him come into his own and star in the Poinsettia Bowl versus San Diego State, scoring two touchdowns to lead the team to victory.
It’s a mystery what position he will play in the NFL. He plays as a pass-rushing outside linebacker in BYU’s 3-4 defense, but he may be too small to play there on Sundays. His skill set fits better as a Von Miller-type strong-side backer in a 4-3 look. Van Noy is most effective as a blitzer when he lines up behind the defensive tackles or far off the edge, and he often gets overmatched when he lines up over the nose of an offensive tackle or tight end. Unlike many of the athletic pass rushers who have been premium NFL draft prospects in recent years, Van Noy does not have the ability to be moved to defensive end in a 4-3 look; he is strictly a linebacker.
Van Noy couldn’t be more different than the top pass rusher in this year’s draft, South Carolina‘s Jadaveon Clowney, but he is still a very exciting player. Though he is a finesse rusher, he provides great playmaking ability from behind the line of scrimmage, and his unique style could be revolutionary at the next level.
- Fantastic sideline-to-sideline speed.
- Game changing playmaker: fumble recovery and interception return provided key touchdowns in BYU’s Poinsettia Bowl victory.
- Appears comfortable lining up from all areas of the field; commonly started from behind the defensive tackles.
- Very quick, low-to-the-ground pass rushing approach.
- In an age of so many 3-4 defenses in the NFL, is already experienced with coming off the edge.
- Very disciplined and stays under control; rarely if ever becomes a victim of overpursuit and does a great job of getting into position to make plays.
- Good at dropping into zone coverage and stays with his man.
- By all accounts, a high-character player who successfully has abided by the BYU honor code for years.
- Size (6-foot-3, 245 pounds) not quite as imposing as most elite NFL pass rushers.
- Regarded by many as too small to even play outside linebacker in a 3-4; may have to shift to outside linebacker in a 4-3.
- Very capable of being handled by tackles and tight ends (shut down by San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar in the first half of the Poinsettia Bowl).
- While effective at the college level, pass-rushing skills lack the intensity or aggressiveness of professional rushers.
- Prone to getting exposed when faced with open-field tackling opportunities.
- Rarely is a secondary contributor; either takes the lead on a play or is not a factor.
- Tendency to play soft at times, gets pushed around and avoids contact.
- Received a DUI in his senior year of high school, though he took a year off from school to repair his reputation and has been without incident since.
Van Noy’s greatest challenge in building up his NFL stock will be the work he does off the field in gaining weight and getting stronger while maintaining his athleticism. However, another season of productive play could certainly add some extra points to his stock. Having lost fellow pass-rushing threat Ezekiel Ansah to the NFL, Van Noy will be the top player on BYU’s defense and will be expected to play an ever bigger role. Van Noy has put on about 10 pounds since last winter, so it will be interesting to see if he becomes a more physical player this year. Since many saw Van Noy as a first rounder before last season, he really doesn’t have much left to prove. While his goal should first and foremost be to play as well as possible, he needs to make sure that he stays healthy and out of trouble and doesn’t hurt his professional standing.
2014 Draft Projection: First Round
Film Watched: Poinsettia Bowl vs. San Diego State (2012), vs. Washington State (2012), vs. San Jose State (2012), vs. Utah (2012)