NFL Draft: BYU's Van Noy helped himself by returning for senior year
Provo • There is quite a bit of agreement among experts who analyze these things for a living regarding where BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy will be taken in this week's NFL Draft. Most believe he will go in the second round, and a few believe he could go late in the first round if there is an early, if not improbable, run on linebackers.
Most analysts and prognosticators also agree that Van Noy didn't hurt his draft stock by returning to BYU for his senior season, although his numbers were not as good as they were his junior year.
"I think it helped him," said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock. "He became known as one of the best all-around
linebackers in college football. There has been a buzz about him the last month or six weeks.
"The buzz has been that he does everything well," Mayock continued. "I am not sure he has got one outstanding trait where you go, 'Wow, that's awesome.' But he does everything well. He can rush, he can drop back into coverage. He can play inside, he can play outside."
Had Van Noy entered the draft last year, he likely would have gone in the middle rounds because there were some doubts about his ability to drop into coverage and his toughness. He answered those questions with a senior year that wasn't as spectacular as his junior year, but solid nonetheless as he dealt with a balky shoulder and some fatigue issues. He also showed well in the Senior Bowl, according to Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports, who lists Van Noy as the fifth-best linebacker in this year's class, behind Buffalo's Khalil Mack, Alabama's C.J. Mosley, UCLA's Anthony Barr and Ohio State's Ryan Shazier.
Edholm said Van Noy is a "Jack of all trades [who] looked good in coverage and pass-rush drills at [the] Senior Bowl."
Mayock said the biggest question surrounding Van Noy now is where to play him on the inside as a run-stuffer or the outside as a pass rusher and coverage guy.
"His versatility is a huge plus," said Mayock, who will release his first-round mock draft Wednesday. "I have got him as a solid second-rounder right now. And I think he is going to be a really good NFL player."
Van Noy declined an interview request last weekend, but said at March's BYU Pro Day that he has already talked to at least one representative from all 32 NFL teams and that "I have no idea where I am going, which round, or to which team."
The San Diego Chargers put him through an individual workout that day, and afterwards he said he had been training in San Diego and was perhaps more familiar with that franchise than any in the NFL, although he grew up a fan of Derrick Brooks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"I love the Chargers and would love to be in that powder blue," he said.
Van Noy ran a pedestrian 4.71-second 40 at the NFL Combine in February, but insisted in March he is faster than that.
"I was happy with what I did and the feedback I got," he said, noting that a 4.65 is a more "accurate time" of his speed.
Since then, Van Noy has acknowledged visiting Atlanta, Jacksonville, Detroit and Washington, D.C., for more individual workouts. He made one other visit to a team that asked for anonymity.
"I was honored to be one of the 30 guys that those teams are looking at," Van Noy said during one of his weekly appearances on 1280 AM in Salt Lake City. "I was one of those 30 players for five teams. I felt really blessed to have those chances."
Tony Pauline of Draft Insider wrote that the Falcons, Patriots, Lions, Chargers, Jaguars and Ravens have shown the most interest in Van Noy. Sports Illustrated put Van Noy in the second round of its mock draft. It says Van Noy could go to the Minnesota Vikings, who have the 40th pick overall (No. 8 in the second round).
Two of the more well-known draft analysts, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, posted a three-round, head-to-head mock draft last week, rotating picks. Kiper picked Van Noy in the second round for the Oakland Raiders.
"I like Kyle Van Noy," Kiper said on a teleconference last week. "I think he is a guy who can hold up in coverage very well, and give you a pass rush. Now, he missed some opportunities to get some sacks, missing some tackles on quarterbacks that he should have had for sacks. But I think Kyle Van Noy is a very underrated player out of BYU."
Twitter: @drewjay 2014 NFL draft
P At Radio City Music Hall, New York City
Thursday • Round 1, 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m., ESPN
Friday • Rounds 2, 3, 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m., ESPN & ESPN2
Saturday • Rounds 4-7, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., ESPN
All times Mountain The Kyle file • A closer look at the prospect
Â· Linebacker is projected to be taken in second or third round
Â· Grew up in Reno, Nev.; parents are Kelly and Layne Van Noy
Â· Graduated from BYU last December with a degree in history
Â· Engaged to be married to former Miss Utah Marissa Powell
Â· Key career stats: 26 sacks, seven interceptions, 62 tackles for loss, 226 total tackles, two defensive TDs, 11 forced fumbles Where will Van Noy land?
Here's where some of the country's foremost NFL Draft prognosticators say BYU's Kyle Van Noy will be drafted:
Â· Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: 36th overall to Oakland Raiders
Â· Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: 31st overall to Denver Broncos
Â· Todd McShay, ESPN: 57th overall to San Diego Chargers
Â· Dane Brugler, CBS Sports: 43rd overall to N.Y. Giants