The Saints significantly improved their defense with new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan at the helm. The defense stands to get even better next year.
The Saints suffered several injuries to their pass rush before the start of the season, most notably, outside linebacker Victor Butler. The Saints still need an outside linebacker from the draft. who can wreak havoc in the backfield and create turnovers.
That outside linebacker could be BYU’s Kyle Van Noy. Van Noy is a smart outside linebacker who excels in both the run game and the pass game. He has the ability to recognize the pass and get his hands up to deflect or intercept passes.
He is a physical presence at 6’3 and runs a 4.65 in the 40 yard dash. Not great speed if he gets beat in coverage by a speedy back, but certainly good enough to be effective in coverage. He is more of a finesse linebacker than a power linebacker and is inconsistent in shedding blocks.
Van Noy also excels in using his hands to attack run blocks and consistently makes tackles for a loss in the backfield. He is disciplined in run pursuit and does not allow running backs to cut back to create plays. He is a disciplined tackler that drives his legs to bring the ball carrier down.
Van Noy has experience playing various positions on defense and therefore isn’t a perfect fit in any scheme. That happens to be a trait that Rob Ryan covets in his defensive players. He isn’t the most athletic defensive player, but he’s proven he’s a linebacker with high intelligence and a versatile skill set that can produce on the field.