NFL locals rookie roundup: Kyle Van Noy projected as first-year starter for Lions
Carlos Osorio, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Expectations are building for former BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy to make an impact in his first year in the NFL.
Gregg Rosenthal of nfl.com's Around The League listed the rookie as the starter for Detroit at strongside linebacker in his projected starting lineups for all 32 teams.
"Second-round pick Kyle Van Noy has prized versatility," Rosenthal wrote. "He will be asked to perform a variety of roles from strongside linebacker, where he should take a starting job from Ashlee Palmer."
Palmer is a five-year NFL veteran who started 10 games for the Lions last season while recording 33 tackles and a pass deflection.
The learning process has already begun for Van Noy, as he's going through organized team activities this week with Detroit after rookie mini-camp last weekend.
"The first week of OTA practices went really well. I learned a lot and also found that I need to work on a lot," Van Noy wrote in his latest blog for the Lions' website. "So it went both ways — there were good things and bad things. But I think it was mostly good because I'm going to learn a lot."
Van Noy is one of just two Detroit draft picks, including first-rounder tight end Eric Ebron, who are still unsigned. The Lions signed Utah State cornerback Nevin Lawson, a fourth-round pick, on May 16 to a deal worth $2.5 million over four years, according to Kyle Meinke of mlive.com. Lawson also will receive a $300,583 signing bonus, Meinke said.
"The biggest thing I need to work on is balancing my time as a linebacker and pass rusher," Van Noy said. "I'm trying to do a lot. And that's okay. I'm used to that. But I'm just trying to get caught up to the pace of the NFL."
Here's a look at some of the situations for other NFL rookies with Utah ties:
• Former BYU safety Daniel Sorensen hit the field for the first time with the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday as the team opened up rookie mini-camp.
The 6-foot-2, 208-pounder is trying to make the team as a free agent after signing with the team on May 12. Ben Nielsen of Arrowhead Addict said there are three things going in Sorensen's favor to make the Chiefs' 53-man roster: his ability to play well on special teams, a "clear roster path" and his quickness.
According to Nielsen, there are already eight secondary players on Kansas City's roster — including three safeties and former Utah cornerback Sean Smith — who are locks for making the opening-day roster, and Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton could carry anywhere from 10-11 secondary players. That leaves the possibility for Sorensen, who ran the fastest 3-cone drill time at this year's NFL combine, to grab an open position, especially if he can excel on special teams like he did at BYU.
"He has traits that can be useful to the Chiefs in a reserve role," Nielsen said of Sorensen. "Getting to the ball quickly and then making a play is something that sounds so simple but it is something the Chiefs didn’t have much of in their secondary.
"Should Sorensen prove his abilities on defense are passable and he dominates on special teams, one would have to think he has a great shot at making the team."
• Utah State head coach Matt Wells told Kevin Wheeler on ESPN 101 Radio in St. Louis that former Aggie Maurice Alexander is a "tremendous worker," and he could be a big asset for the St. Louis Rams with his pass-rushing skills.
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