"When you look to being able to pressure from different parts of your defense and not always being static, you’ve got to have some backers that have the ability to rush," Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. "That’s what he does. He can drop in coverage. He can rush. He gives us flexibility.
"He turns the ball over. Sacks, strips, interceptions, different ways. We’ll find different ways to get him going and try to get him as close to the ball as possible."
A top priority for the defense is to add playmakers on a unit that has struggled to create turnovers each of the last two seasons.
Van Noy scored five touchdowns — three on fumble returns and two on interception returns — during his four-year college career. He finished with a total of seven interceptions and 26 sacks.
"This guy can get to the ball," coach Jim Caldwell said. "He’s got the speed to do it and he certainly has a knack for it."
"He became known as one of the best all-around linebackers in college football," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said recently. "He does everything well."
The Lions made a deal with the Seattle Seahawks to move up from No. 45 overall to No. 40 to take Van Noy, giving up one extra middle-round pick in the process.
In addition to exchanging those second-round picks, Detroit gave Seattle its fourth-round (No. 111) and seventh-round selections (No. 227) this year while the Lions got back the Seahawks’ fifth-round pick (No. 146).
"There were a couple teams that we had a concern about, that we thought were hot spots for him," general manager Martin Mayhew said about the need to move up.
The Lions now have two fourth-round (No. 133 and 136), a fifth-round (No. 146) and a sixth-round pick (No. 189) coming up on Saturday, the final day of the draft.
Van Noy will be joining former college teammate, defensive end Ziggy Ansah, in Detroit. He and Ansah, last year’s first-round pick, are the only two BYU players drafted since 2010, both by the Lions.
"We saw a lot of him playing (while scouting Ansah)," Mayhew said. "It was really kind of ‘Who is this guy?’ You’re watching Ziggy and this guy’s making all these plays.
"He and Ziggy are really great friends. He was telling me how they were roommates together on the road trips. Ziggy’s probably happy."
Van Noy was on the phone with Ansah shortly after getting picked.
"He’s like a brother to me," Van Noy said. "It’s good to be back on the same team and be able to go to work and chase the Super Bowl together."
Van Noy, who is engaged to Miss Utah, Marissa Powell, admitted to Austin during one of their interviews that he hadn’t been as productive his senior year as he was as a junior.
Austin came away impressed with Van Noy’s insight into his own weaknesses.
"It just shows I have stuff to work on," Van Noy said. "Some things didn’t go my way and sometimes I just missed opportunities.
"It built a lot of heart in me to keep working through tough times. I’m excited that the Detroit Lions, even though I didn’t have what looked like a stellar season to those who look at stats, but they watched enough film to see me be disruptive and take on double teams and things like that."