BYU’s Kyle Van Noy debuts in Mel Kiper’s latest ranking of prospects
Updated: April 10, 2014, 11:22 AM ET
Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
AP Photo/Michael ConroyBYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy is coveted by NFL teams due to his versatility.
You would think there’s enough time. My evaluation period essentially begins soon after the draft ends, as I start to research and look for the questions I need to answer about the next draft class. Then there’s an entire football season to watch and evaluate. Then there’s the pre-draft process, with the combine, pro days, and more conversations, more traded notes, and more and more tape. You’d think it’d be pretty locked in at some point.
And for the most part it is, but then you go back through more tape — it really is endless — as I did recently on BYU, and you realize you missed something. Kyle Van Noy jumps onto the Big Board this week because he’s a player I simply didn’t have graded high enough. He’s so quick, with such good instincts, and sees and reacts so well, he often looks like he’s playing the game faster than everyone else. I had him as a likely second-round pick (I still see that as a possibility, as I may have him higher than most), but he’s good enough to go in Round 1 based on my evaluation.
There aren’t a ton of moves beyond that, but there are some, and will be more. The evaluating really never stops.
Asterisks denote juniors, and two asterisks denote redshirt sophomores. The early-entry deadline has passed, so all players are now either officially in or out of the 2014 NFL draft.
The workouts are completed, I think questions about his lack of huge totals are mostly answered, and now it’s just a matter of the draft slot. As a player, he’s special — worthy of the No. 1 pick. He isn’t just a speed rusher looking to beat a tackle upfield and quickly turn the corner. He has strength as well, and as a speed-to-power rusher who can drive a tackle back, Clowney can be great. He’ll go through you or around you, and he can succeed in any scheme.
He’s already very good, and the remarkable thing with Robinson is his growth curve. Brought in as a guard, he started at left tackle in the SEC as a redshirt freshman and held his own. In 2013, he was dominant, with increased strength making him closer to the complete package at tackle. He moves well, can get out in the run game and block in space, and pass protects well with a wide base and quick feet. He also has long arms and delivers a solid punch. A future star.
No real change for me here, as I’ve had him pretty high for a while. It’s about versatility as much as his pass rush. You see Mack lining up both at the line and on the perimeter. He is capable of rushing the passer with quickness and power, or dropping into coverage with a great ability to make plays in the open field. He uses good leverage to take on blocks and drive people back, and quickness and strong hands to disengage. He plays with a great motor and tackles with form.
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ESPN NFL Draft analyst since 1984
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Writes weekly for ESPN Insider