Is Van Noy the Answer at Linebacker

Craig J. Santucci @NYGiantsRush

Free Agency is a period of time where NFL teams overspend, refuse to spend or spend on the wrong guy. The Giants have $60MM in cap space before one player even gets cut. The Giants should be “buying” to fix their depleted defense as well as drafting with an eye on pass-rush.

After looking at the Top 100 Free Agents for the 2020 season, one name grabs attention as a good fit for the new regime.

Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Patriots (28 yrs old)

In recent years…the Giants have not had much luck signing former Bill Belichick players. Such as Nate Solder and Shane Vereen. But it’s very tempting when you look at what Kyle Van Noy can bring to the table.

Belichick doesn’t quite rely on Van Noy to be a straight-up Outside Linebacker. The former BYU player reminds me of the defensive version of the Saints Taysom Hill. Like Hill, Van Noy does a little bit of everything very well.

He can play outside or inside backer and even in some defensive schemes can drop down and play defensive end. He can tackle, in 2018 he had 90 tackles. He can rush the passer, blitzing from the outside or up the middle. His first step to the ball is very quick, he works with his hands and is not afraid to work down the line to make a tackle. The New England system allows Van Noy to move around, be athletic and make plays.

He started his career in Detriot after being drafted in the 2nd round from BYU. He played for the Lions for three years until the Patriots traded for him in 2016.

The debate will be, whether ex-Patriots are done when Bill parts ways with a player. Van Noy’s production was down from a tackling standpoint, however, contributed 6.5 sacks. That’s more than Lorenzo Carter or Ximines and Ogletree combined.

On the other hand, if he is done, the Giants don’t need another backer looking to cash in on one last contract before retirement. The Giant’s defense needs young, hungry football players. Van Noy reminds me a bit of Michael Boley who was brought in from Atlanta and had four very good years with the Giants, including a Super Bowl in 2011.

Van Noy is a bit heavier than Boley, but their style of play is similar. In October of 2019, Van Noy was ranked as the 6th best OLB playing in the 3/4 system out of 46 linebackers. He made $4.5M (+500,000 roster bonus).

Compared to Kareem Martin who signed with the Giants in 2018 and inked a three-year, $21 million contract with $7.5 million guaranteed. Martin was at the end when he signed in 2018 and was a back-up by September 2019.

The Giants need help at linebacker and have had this issue for decades. It has been the forgotten position when drafting as long as I can remember. The Mara’s said the team will be better and they expect to win. Even shooting for an 8-8 season this team will need linebackers and a pass rush. Coach Judge should be familiar with Van Noy and hopefully, they look to bring him in if he’s healthy and wants to work.

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