I wouldn't say he's an exceptional athlete, but he's a good athlete. I think he has really good natural football instincts, and it's probably the best part of his game. —ESPN's Todd McShay
ESPN analysts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper have shared their thoughts on what former BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy will bring to the Detroit Lions defense.
Kiper called Van Noy one of his "early-impact rookies" from the second and third rounds of this year's NFL draft.
"Although he could be penciled in at weakside linebacker if you're working off the base defense in Detroit, I'd expect the Lions to move Van Noy around some looking for the best route to the QB," Kiper wrote.
"Van Noy had 35 total pressures in 2013, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and the Detroit defense had the fifth-lowest sack percentage in the league last year despite the potent interior of that D-line."
It's a defensive line for Detroit that includes three-time Pro Bowler Ndamukong Suh inside and former Cougar Ezekiel Ansah at defensive end. During his BYU career, Van Noy had 26 sacks and 62 tackles for loss, and the hope is Van Noy will help the Lions increase their pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Van Noy will wear No. 95 in Detroit, Lions senior writer Tim Twentyman said. That's just one number up from Ansah's 94. The Detroit News's Josh Katzenstein reported it's expected Van Noy could start immediately at strongside linebacker.
“He's at his best in space when he's on the move,” McShay said about Van Noy during a conference call Monday, according to Katzenstein. “You want to keep him protected. That's the big thing with him. He struggles when he's forced into a phone booth when he's got to take on bigger blockers. It's just not his game."
McShay said Van Noy has strong football instincts, which will help in transitioning to the NFL game.
“I wouldn't say he's an exceptional athlete, but he's a good athlete," McShay said. "I think he has really good natural football instincts, and it's probably the best part of his game."
The five defensive touchdowns Van Noy scored while at BYU are well-documented. Van Noy also told reporters at his Lions introductory press conference that during his senior year of high school, he scored 18 touchdowns as a receiver.
"I love the end zone. I found it in college and hope to find it at the next level," he said.
Greg Cosell, executive producer of NFL Matchup and senior producer at NFL Films, shared his analysis with detroitlions.com after watching hours of film on Van Noy.
“He was one of my favorite guys to watch on film. I don’t know the kid, but the more I watched, the more I saw explosive movement. I think he has outstanding closing burst and speed," Cosell said. "You can make an argument he’s as complete a linebacker in this draft class with the ability to play both on the ball and off the line of scrimmage."
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