To be crystal clear, former Detroit Lions linebacker Kyle Van Noy is not a superstar. What the former second-round pick by the Lions back in the 2014 NFL draft is, though, is a player who has upside. Van Noy’s upside is now being sent to the New England Patriots, in a situation where head coach Bill Belichick will get to work with another young and talented player.
Via ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
Patriots are acquiring LB Kyle Van Noy from Lions, multiple sources tell ESPN's James Walker, Field Yates and Mike Reiss
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 25, 2016
While Van Noy has likely yet to reach his true potential, this type of situation isn’t something new for the Patriots. They’ve taken plenty of chances on players who hadn’t reached their potential. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. One specific instance of things not working out for the Patriots is when they acquired guard Jonathan Cooper from the Arizona Cardinals, who they cut earlier this season.
While that trade was a flop, the Patriots also wound up getting a second-round pick, which they turned into two players — wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell and offensive lineman Joe Thuney. Both players are solid, while Thuney is currently starting at left guard for the Patriots.
Think of names like LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis and Brandon LaFell, just to name a few. As once explained by tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, the Patriots just bring the best out of players it seems, per NFL.com’s Marc Sessler.
“The Patriots just seem to find the best in everyone, no matter where you were drafted, or where you came from,” said tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. “The reason they brought you here is to help the team, so whatever they see, no matter how many plays you’re going to play, they’re going to get the best out of you. I think that’s why they’ve been successful for so many years.”
Van Noy, who just got his chance to start with the Lions, playing in all of the team’s first seven games, has totaled 23 combined tackles this season. His NFL numbers aren’t amazing, but it’s his college numbers that are really eye-opening.
Through four seasons with the BYU Cougars Van Noy totaled 226 combined tackles, an impressive 61.5 tackles for loss, 25 sacks, 11 passes defensed, eight interceptions, five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. That’s a pretty loaded stat sheet there and something that the Patriots are obviously well-aware of. Not only was Van Noy’s excellence in college enough to likely make the Patriots want to add him to the roster, but the fact that he was good enough to earn a starting nod for the Lions is also a great thing.
So, here we go again. While many teams across the NFL struggle to fill voids and attempt to try to get the best out of mediocre players, the Patriots may have just landed another diamond in the rough. Maybe Van Noy will be just the opposite, but the upside is undoubtedly there and is something that fans just can’t ignore. While Belichick will go to work on getting his newest player up to speed, fans of the Patriots are probably in the right if they’re sitting back and waiting on the linebacker to turn a corner with his new team.