With the 40th overall pick in the NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions selected BYU standout linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
In the 2013 NFL Draft, the Lions picked up former Cougar defensive end Ezekial (Ziggy) Ansah in the first round, with the fifth overall pick. During the 2012 BYU football season, Van Noy racked up 13 sacks playing alongside Ansah, according to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper.
Following his pick, Van Noy went to Twitter and said, “Let’s gooooo Lions!!!! I bleed Blue!!!! Can’t wait… Let’s work to get that respect!”
Immediately following the selection, draft analyst Mel Kiper heaped praise upon Van Noy during ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage.
“He comes in NFL ready,” Kiper said. “Tremendously smart. I think he’s a heck of a pick for the Lions.”
At BYU, Van Noy played in 52 games, amassing 26 total sacks and forcing 11 fumbles, six of those while playing next to former roommate Ansah.
Kiper listed Van Noy as the third overall prospect at outside linebacker in this year’s draft.
“(Van Noy) is absolutely relentless in pursuit,” Kiper noted. “He takes great angles and shows off serious closing speed.”
Van Noy became the second player from BYU drafted in the first two rounds by Detroit. The Lions moved up five spots from number 45 to 40 to get Van Noy, giving up their 45th, 111th and 227th picks to do so.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay loved the pick by the Lions as well.
“All this kid does is make plays,” McShay said. “He has natural football instincts and is a fundamentally sound tackler.”
During his time at BYU, Van Noy was selected as a Third-Team All-American in 2012 and 2013 and a First-Team All-Independent in 2011, 2012 and 2013. His most memorable game was his last with Ansah, the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl of which he was named defensive MVP. He was also named the FBS Independent Defensive Player of the Year following his senior season.
Many questioned Van Noy’s overall athleticism coming into the draft, but Kiper tends to disagree with the naysayers.
“(Van Noy) could’ve had 15 sacks this season,” Kiper said. “Missed a lot of opportunities in the backfield to get that quarterback to the ground. He’s blocked kicks, he has seven career interceptions, great change of direction. Spin move with purpose, getting after the quarterback. Love that.”
The Lions ranked 28th in the NFL last year in total sacks and made it a priority to upgrade their pass rush with this year’s draft. Van Noy is expected to compete for the starting outside linebacker spot within the Lions’ 3-4 defensive scheme right away.
“Detroit has a need for this kind of player,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “He does everything well. I’m not sure he has one outstanding trait. He can play that outside SAM position. I think that’s what Van Noy will be. I like the pick.”
There are currently 16 former BYU players playing in the NFL. BYU has had 79 total players selected in the NFL draft over the past 31 years and another 21 drafted by either the Canadian Football League or the defunct United States Football League.
Van Noy has more to look forward to than simply being picked 40th overall.
When asked before the draft if he would like playing in Detroit with Ansah again, Van Noy responded, “Dude, I’m not even kidding. That would be awesome.”