BYU's Kyle Van Noy has been a bit of a swiss-army knife for the Cougars defense in his career, predominantly playing the outside linebacker role. Van Noy is someone who you easily notice when watching games, because he's consistently around the football, be it in the backfield or just around ball carriers.
Listed around 6'3" and 245 pounds, it's likely most teams who look at Van Noy will be looking for a 4-3 under SAM linebacker or a 3-4 SAM linebacker. He finished his senior season with four sacks, 17 tackles for loss and two interceptions. Van Noy ended his college careers third all time in FBS with tackles for loss (58.5) and finished his career with 25 sacks, including a career high 13 in the 2012 season.
Where Kyle Van Noy Wins
First and foremost the area where Van Noy really wins for me is his play recognition. He's a smart football player who often seems to diagnose plays prior to the snap, adjusting his alignment and what he does based on movement from the offensive formation. He does a good job of recognizing play fakes and/or tendencies, such as snuffing out screen plays and quick passes to the boundary. This allows for him to make up for some of his flaws and a big reason why he's around the ball so much, because he is able to recognize what is going on.
With his athleticism and recognition, Van Noy excels in zone coverage in the short and middle of field areas when he can watch the quarterback. He covers the flat well and picks up running backs out of the backfield. He does a nice job in pursuit and getting to ball carriers. He also does not seem to shy away from contact and is willing to take on blockers to attack a play.
Van Noy also anticipates the snap well and can get offensive lineman on their heels. He has a quick first step and closes quickly. Van Noy also displays enough ability to bend and dip around the edge when attacking the edge rushing the passer.
Where Kyle Van Noy Needs To Improve
While Van Noy is an adequate pass rusher when he comes off the edge, he does't really possess any pass rushing moves outside of an inside spin move when a tackle over extends and cheats to the outside. It works well, but it's not going to work as often as it did at BYU on the NFL level. Some of his pressures and sacks come from blitzes (lined up at ILB) or stunts to the inside.
While Van Noy is adequate in zone coverage and has the ability to run with tight ends down the seam, he struggles a bit in man coverage. Luckily for him, depending on the scheme of the team who drafts him, he shouldn't need to worry about manning up on receivers or tight ends.
Van Noy also will need to improve his hand use at the next level. He struggles getting off blocks when a lineman gets his hands on him and he doesn't sufficiently use his hands to create space for himself and to keep lineman off his body.
I came away liking Van Noy after more extensive watch than I thought I would and he appears to be significantly more versatile than I originally gave him credit for. Van Noy appears to be a "complete" strong-side linebacker who is a plus edge rusher when asked to blitz. In regards to the Jaguars defensive scheme, I think he would fit well as the SAM linebacker, who's asked to cover the flats and bring pressure on blitzes off the edge or stunting inside. I do not think he would be a very effective LEO with his hand on the ground. He would also be an ideal SAM linebacker for a 3-4 defense, as he is an effective secondary pass rusher and can cover tight ends and backs.
Grade: 6.0 - Mid-round pick, eventual starter/package player