How Kyle Van Noy Fits with the Detroit Lions

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How Kyle Van Noy Fits with the Detroit Lions
Cathleen Allison/Associated Press

Let's get this straight: General manager Martin Mayhew doesn't care what you think. He didn't hear you complaining about how stupid the offensive pick at No. 10 was. And he doesn't care about your kudos now.

But here's betting plenty of fans are thrilled with him after the trade up for BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy. 

The Lions gave up the 44th, 111th and 227th picks to move up five spots while also getting No. 146 (fifth round) in the deal. That's a pretty solid transaction for both teams no matter how you slice it.

However, we don't care about Seattle's maneuvers. Let's check out how well Van Noy fits in Detroit.

 

Van Noy Fills Out the Front Seven

Everyone kept expecting Detroit to add another linebacker last offseason to push Ashlee Palmer. It was like a bad joke that wouldn't die.  

Granted, the Lions were tough against the run (sixth), and Palmer did his part by posting an average -1.5 PFF grade. But the coaching staff hid him away as much as possible, resulting in him logging just a third as many snaps as his linebacking comrades. He simply couldn't be trusted in coverage. 

That problem has presumably been solved. 

Van Noy is a legitimate three-down linebacker who is decent enough against the run and an excellent choice to drop into coverage. His presence will give new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin the flexibility he needs from his linebackers to handle whatever an offense throws at him.

His 4.71 speed ensures he will be able to hang with almost any tight end and even a few slot receivers when he is called on to do so. His natural instincts and high football IQ will make him a threat to build on his seven collegiate interceptions.

 

And Is Austin's Missing Link

But the real genius behind this move lies in Van Noy's impressive ability to get after the quarterback. In fact, the last time he was teamed up with college roommate Ziggy Ansah, he racked up 13 sacks and forced six fumbles, according to sports-reference.com.

Austin is a proponent of providing pressure from multiple angles—something Detroit teams have not done in the past. Van Noy already has an impressive number of pass-rushing moves, and his active hands should help devastate passing attacks before they get off the ground.

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Van Noy's most glaring weakness is his lack of brute strength. In Austin's defense, that shouldn't be a problem as he'll be coming off an edge that is occupied by either Ansah or the 276-pound Jason Jones. Austin will also move him around, giving him paths to the quarterback where he won't get caught in the wash.

There were two things the Lions didn't do well last year: sacking the quarterback (33) and creating turnovers (22). Both were toward the bottom of the barrel.

Van Noy represents a solid step forward in both facets. As he closes in on quarterbacks, he'll either bring them down and get his hands on the ball, or he'll force errant throws that even Detroit's beleaguered secondary could snatch.

So take all that vitriol you had after the first round, swallow it and applaud Mayhew. He's at it again.

 

Brandon Alisoglu is a Detroit Lions featured columnist who has written about the Lions on multiple sites. He also co-hosts a Lions-centric podcast,Lions Central Radio. Yell at him on Twitter about how wrong he is@BrandonAlisoglu.

Grades and snap counts are courtesy of Pro Football Focus and require a subscription. Team stats are sourced from ESPN.go.com and combine stats were taken from NFL.com.

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