Senior Bowl practices have wrapped up and the rising/falling stock reports are rolling in. One guy who will be on a lot of “rising” lists is Kyle Van Noy, linebacker from BYU.
Experts have plenty of laudatory things to say about Van Noy (6-3, 235) after his performance in Mobile. Just a sample here:
Jeff Risdon: He’s got great explosion from his stance but also has loose ankles to change course on the fly. He can get himself low and still stay moving, and he also demonstrated some yank and shoulder dip moves. During one linebacker drill, he laid out fellow LB Telvin Smith with a serious pop. Van Noy has impressed all week.
Tony Pauline: Terrific practice for Van Noy. Really showed a complete game and played well in all aspects. Like his discipline as well as the way he attacks the action. Count me in as a fan.
John Harris: Does everything SO well on a football field. Coverage, rush the edge, pursuit, you name Van Noy has it. The Jaguars coaches got on him a bit during individual drills because they didn’t think he was flying through a drill. It’s just that he makes it look effortless. He made plays throughout the practice in coverage. It’s not a surprise to me as I’ve got him in my top 15 on our TSV Big Board but I value production and intelligence more than anything. Van Noy has all of it.
Rob Rang: Van Noy shows excellent play recognition, takes on blockers with the correct shoulder (allowing him to slide off would-be blockers and into ball-carriers easily) and is equally effective slipping into coverage or sliding past offensive linemen on his way towards a tackle behind the line of scrimmage. He’s subtle rather than physical, which draws complaints from some scouts but is deadly effective.
Coy Wire: I didn’t see one running back block Van Noy in one-on-one pass rush drills, and there are some good backs here. Van Noy showed a variety of moves — jab step, club the arm and swim — to get past the blocker and made running backs look silly on several occasions. At 6-3 and 245 pounds, he has superior strength and great potential as a blitzer and edge rusher.
In the team period of workouts, Van Noy was aligning at the weak-side linebacker position, behind the defensive tackle, and looked good standing up in space. He showed the ability to read blocks and then manipulate those trying to block him so he remained in good tackling position on the running back. He has the athleticism to slip a block without having to engage but also the upper-body strength to use his hands to punch and shed an offensive lineman to make a play.
A lot of linebackers who are fluid and athletic like Van Noy can’t also engage bigger linemen and punch and shed those blocks. But Van Noy showed the ability to do both, which gives him a chance to be a great hybrid edge rusher who can play off the ball when need be.
These scouting reports, especially that last one by Coy Wire, are putting me in mind of Cincinnati Bengals DE Michael Johnson, a guy Mike Zimmer molded into a big-time player. Johnson has that combination of pass rush and coverage ability, and he thrived under Zimmer.
Van Noy is beginning to look like a legitimate option with the #8 pick if the Vikings elect to go for defense.