+Do it all player against the pass
+Outstanding in zone coverage
+Good pass rusher
+Great fundamentals as a pass rusher
+Great ball skills
-No natural NFL position, at least that plays to all of his best strengths
-Average body control
BYU outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy is just an awesome player. He does so many things well, and should be a very good player at the next level.
I’ll cut to the chase: I said Van Noy has no natural NFL position. For all the fans wondering if Van Noy is a fit in your defense, here’s your answer. The reason I said he has no natural NFL position is because he is a pass rushing linebacker who can’t play in a 3-4 defense. I say this because he is never very good out of a 3 point stance and therefore cannot fit in the nickel package all NFL 3-4 teams use. Almost every defense in the NFL is a either a 4-3 that subs out a linebacker when they see 3 receivers, moving to a 4-2-5, or a 3-4 defense that subs out a defensive lineman, almost always the nose tackle (they lack stamina), and then moving both outside linebackers to 5 technique defensive end to create a 4-2-5. The only exception: the Denver Broncos, a 4-3 team that can conserve the stamina of their D-line by subbing out a defensive lineman and moving Von Miller to 5 technique defensive end. The moral of the story: Von Miller is awesome and 3-4 outside linebackers have their hand in the dirt against 3 receiver sets. Kyle Van Noy is a better pass rusher from a 2 point stance and he lacks the strength to hold his ground against the run if you do play him as a 5 technique. So Van Noy is stuck as a 4-3 outside linebacker, a position which will inevitably waste at least some of his pass rushing ability in the NFL.
Van Noy has good measurables. He has ideal height and weight at 6’3, 245lbs, and he has above average speed with a 4.68 40 yard dash, according to NFLDraftScout.com. He moves very well laterally and has a very clean build.
Van Noy is very good against the run. What stands out in this respect is his range, which is pretty much off the charts. I once saw him make a TFL on a quick wide receiver screen… from the backside. Yes, he wasn’t even on the side to which the play was directed, yet he still made a TFL on a play he must have moved about 25 yards laterally just to get to the receiver. Quite impressive. His range will really go a long way in the NFL, making life for his corners easier (they can just contain the outside) and that of running backs harder. With regard to his ability to take on blocks, he is an overachiever. He really lacks the strength and the length to beat a block in many traditional senses, but he has so much lateral quickness and flexibility that there just aren’t many guards who can lay a finger on him. It’s so difficult to square up against him and make a play, because he does such an outstanding job of using his deceptively quick feet to get linemen off balance and make them just whiff when they try to engage in a block, and it’s so hard to get any kind of leverage against him thanks to his tremendous flexibility. If the lineman does engage in a block, he usually can’t beat it, but he dodges blockers like a boxer that dodges punches, and it really is hard to land a blow if you are blocking him. He really protects his body. He also has outstanding instincts and can weave his way through traffic and make a play. He’s very fast and he takes outstanding angles to the ball. He still could use a little strength and he could improve his tackling but he is still very good against the run.
Van Noy is outstanding against the pass. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a linebacker as good in coverage as Van Noy. His range and lateral quickness are both outstanding and his ball skills are top notch. He deflects passes with incredible frequency and his instincts are outstanding. He is always in the right position, he can read the quarterbacks eyes, and he has the size to cover most tight ends. He also is a very productive pass rusher, showcasing outstanding quickness and consistently getting good leverage as a speed rusher. His quickness makes him very successful with inside counter moves, and he can consistently get pressure when he uses these moves as a change of pace against certain offensive lineman, who will struggle to compete with his quickness and change of direction skills. He is a fluid athlete he also knows how to tackle the quarterback, doing an excellent job of draping his arms around the quarterback, plus he flashes the ability to hit the forearm of the throwing arm of the quarterback when he gets a chance. He also is asked to be a safety spy on occasion, something that he really excels at thanks to his range and discipline.
I really like Van Noy. His quickness and instincts will go a long way toward making him a productive 4-3 outside linebacker, and he should be good for about 5 sacks a year along the way.
NFL Comparison: It may strike some people as a tad odd, but Jamie Collins. I’m comparing Collins to Van Noy as much as I am comparing Van Noy to Collins. For those of you who aren’t too familiar with Collins, he was recruited as a safety for Southern Miss but ended up playing defensive end, so he had no experience at his natural NFL position, 4-3 outside linebacker, until this year with the Patriots. He needs time to hone his instincts but, as evidenced by his quick transition from safety to defensive end in college, he’s a fast learner. Collins always flashed talent in coverage at the collegiate level but he was rarely was used in coverage. There is little difference in short areas but Collins definitely has more long speed, yet I’m not sure he will ever catch up to Van Noy’s outstanding instincts. In summary, Van Noy resembles Collins except in that Van Noy already has experience at his natural position at the collegiate level, unlike Collins. In 3 years, they should be the same player: a good pass rusher for a 4-3 linebacker that is outstanding in coverage and has lots of range against the run.
Grade: 92 (in a strong draft class, worthy of a late first round pick)
Projection: 87 (will be an early, possibly mid second round pick)