The 2014 NFL Draft class features a plethora of skilled outside linebackers, and with a wealth of talent at the position a player like BYU’s Kyle Van Noy may become a steal for a team in the second round.
Van Noy was a jack of all trades for the Cougars last season, displaying the ability to both rush the passer from the edge as well as drop back into coverage. A smart player with an above-average football IQ, Van Noy is able to diagnose plays in a flash and doesn’t hesitate to get to the ball.
The 6-foot-3, 244-pound backer is an instinctive pass rusher who thrives behind a spin move as well as on stunts and twists, evident by the four sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss, and pair of interceptions he registered during his senior season in which he was named the Independent Defensive Player of the Year. Overall, Van Noy tallied 25 sacks during his career with BYU, though his draft stock was hurt a bit after a slight regression from recording 13 sacks as a junior.
Whether he fits in as a strongside backer in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme on the next level, Van Noy must improve his block shedding. At times he struggles to get off blocks and doesn’t utilize his hands enough to create space for himself to escape. As a pass rusher he’ll also have to add some more moves to his arsenal.
Van Noy comes in as the No. 39 overall prospect, according to CBS Sports, and the fourth-rated outside linebacker. He’s listed as No. 6 at his position by ESPN, trailing the likes of UCLA’s Anthony Barr and Buffalo’s Khalil Mack.
If and when Van Noy slips into the later portion of the first round or more likely into the second round, a handful of teams make logical fits for the edge rusher. The AFC champion Denver Broncos could nab him as a complement to Von Miller or even an insurance policy for him if the organization is unable to agree to a restructured deal with the All-Pro.
If the Jacksonville Jaguars don’t nab Jadeveon Clowney with their first pick, Van Noy could be their target with the No. 39 pick. Van Noy could play a stand-up backer role in Gus Bradley’s defense and would become a strong third option alongside Geno Hayes and Paul Posluszny.
The Pittsburgh Steelers could be in search of a new linebacker. Larry Foote is only getting older, while both Jason Worilds and Stevenson Sylvester are impending free agents. Van Noy could complement last year’s first-rounder, Jarvis Jones, as the Steel Curtain rebuilds their linebacking corps.