The Detroit Lions entered day two of the NFL Draft with the 45th overall selection, but traded with the Seattle Seahawks to move up to the 40th overall pick.
- 2nd Round Pick (No. 40 overall)
- 5th round pick (No. 146)
- 2nd Round Pick (No. 45)
- 4th round pick (No. 111)
- 7th round pick (No. 227)
The Lions knew who they wanted, and weren’t willing to wait the five extra picks to see if he’d fall to them. Who they wanted was Brigham Young University linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
Van Noy reunites with Detroit’s first round pick last year, Ziggy Ansah. The two were leaders on a 2012 BYU defense that was second in the nation in rush defense.
The Lion’s were seeking a versatile linebacker that is capable of pass rushing and they have found it in Van Noy. The 6-foot-3 linebacker racked up seven interceptions, 11 forced fumbles, and 26 sacks in four years of play.
Let’s see what Van Noy can bring to the Lions.
He has experience: Four years of playing and developing at BYU. Van Noy has covered all facets of the linebacker position in this time and is a do-it-all kind of player.
Tackles, sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles, quarterback hurries, pass break-ups, and blocked kicks are all things he was prone to do on the field at BYU. That’s versatility.
Van Noy has a nose for the football as well. He scored five defensive touchdowns in his collegiate career. That kind of big play ability proves how football smart he is.
Van Noy is not the strongest or quickest for an outside linebacker. He has also been criticized for having short arms.
He needs to develop a better arsenal of pass-rushing moves, as he tends to just take-off from the edge. His speed won’t be able to beat as many NFL blockers, so he could stand to learn some moves.
The Grade: A-
The Lions were seeking to improve their defensive unit with a versatile player. They have found just that at a grade value in the second round. Detroit sacrificed future picks for this guy, so he must have stood out in the eyes of coaches and management.
Van Noy will rush the pasher, drop in coverage, and be a run-stopper. He’s got the complete package, now he just needs to translate his game over to the league.
He has the abilities to be a three-down player for the Lions right away. Look for Van Noy to compete for the starting strongside linebacker job this season.
Detroit targeted their center of the future with their third round pick (No. 76 overall), and drafted Travis Swanson of Arkansas. With current starter Dominic Raiola, 35, nearing the end of his career, this was a smart move for the Lions.
Swanson started 50 consecutive games for Arkansas, which tied a school record. Doing that in the SEC conference is nothing short of commendable. It means he has experience against some of the best competition in college football.
Swanson has shown himself to be an excellent pass blocker at Arkansas. He is battle-tested against NFL-caliber SEC defenders.
He said he is comfortable playing either guard position, so his versatility could factor into future playing time.
I really wanted the Lions to land USC center Marcus Martin in this round. Unfortunately, the 49ers picked him just six picks before their turn.
Swanson isn’t the strongest offensive lineman the draft had to offer, his bench press reps were the lowest at the combine. This factors into why his run blocking needs a lot of work.
Swanson won’t be slated as a starter right away, but can learn a lot for Raiola as he enters the league. He needs to learn to be more explosive and how to sustain blocks better at the second level.
The Grade: B-
Center was a position that the Lions were targeting, and they got a quality one in Swanson. While they missed on Martin, Swanson was still the third center off the board.
He will be given time to develop, and could start at center for Detroit in the future.