New England Patriots linebacker and defensive end Kyle Van Noy probably never could have imagined any of this just over 13 months ago when he was being labeled a bust with the Detroit Lions.
Van Noy has a championship and has become the defensive play-caller with Dont’a Hightower injured after the Lions complete gave up on him, shipping him to New England with a seventh-round pick in exchange for a sixth-round pick. Just three seasons earlier, Detroit drafted him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
However, the Patriots kept their eye on him after showing interest during the draft process and pounced to score a player they knew was being underutilized. Now, Patriots coach Bill Belichick trusts him so much that he’s asking him to play the scheme’s toughest role.
Belichick has tasked Van Noy with playing left defensive end in the Patriots defense, a position that requires him to put his hand in the ground as a defensive end and stand up to play linebacker just like Mike Vrabel and Rob Ninkovich did so well for so many years. And Belichick explained just how difficult that is on Friday, according to Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal.
However, Van Noy has handled it well. He’s made 70 tackles on the season and has 5 sacks through 11 games while playing in 94.1 percent of the Patriots’ defensive snaps this season.
Belichick’s trust earned him an extension earlier this year and it’s becoming more and more clear that his versatility in a complicated defensive scheme has made him a valuable part of the organization’s long-term plans.