NOTEBOOK: Van Noy already getting a sense of what his role will be

Posted May 17, 2014

Kyle Van Noy will have many roles in the Lions defense; Nevin Lawson working both in the slot and outside and the Calvin Johnson effect on rookies

Kyle Van Noy wore a lot of hats for the BYU defense. That’s evident by his 223 tackles (61.5 for loss), 26 sacks and seven interceptions. He was part linebacker, part edge-rusher and full time playmaker.

Van Noy's versatility is why the Detroit Lions valued him so much and moved up in the second round of the draft to get him.

During his first week in Allen Park, Van Noy says his role in the Lions defense is starting to come together and it's even more complex than it was at BYU.

“I fit in in all sorts of sets,” Van Noy said. “I’ve been going in at the SAM (linebacker) position, as well as on a sub team, so a little bit of everything. I do it all.

“Kind of backer, to be able to rush, to be able to be in coverage and all sorts of stuff like that. Just a variety of things with the coaches. (They are) going to put me in different places, and I’m excited about it.”

One of those roles will be as a stand-up defensive end in sub packages. The Lions like the versatility of players like Jason Jones, who can play both inside and outside. Paired with Van Noy’s versatility, the Lions will have plenty of different sub-package looks they can throw at offenses this year.


Nevin LawsonCB Nevin Lawson (Photo: Detroit Lions)

The Lions selected Nevin Lawson in the fourth round of the draft because they loved his on-the-line-of-scrimmage skills as a cover cornerback.

Lawson may only be 5-foot-9 ½, but he’s 190 pounds and uses all of that weight to play a physical brand of football.

He played in the slot as a sophomore and junior at Utah State, but moved solely to the outside as a senior.

The Lions have had him for a week now and are giving him a chance to play both inside and outside to see where he might fit best.

“I’m just trying to learn everything I can,” Lawson said.


Calvin Johnson is a superstar in this league and it’s starting to sink in for some of these rookies that they’re now teammates with one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

“Every Sunday you turn on the TV and you see Calvin Johnson doing his thing,” Lawson said. “ I was just honored to be in his presence and be able to say he’s my teammate.”

Lawson hasn’t gone up against Johnson in practice yet, but is eagerly anticipating that day (which all rookies do until Johnson torches them for a touchdown in training camp one-on-one drills).

“If you want to be the best you have to go against the best,” Lawson said.

Receiver TJ Jones has the benefit of being in the same position group as Johnson. He’s in the same meeting room and standing in the same huddle.

“I wasn’t really sure what to say,” Jones said of the first time he met Johnson after being drafted. “You never know how people are going to interact with you. He’s very welcoming. He’s very down to earth and humble. He makes you comfortable to be around him.”

Wednesday morning was a particular thrill for tight end Eric Ebron, because he was thrown into the mix by tight ends coach Ron Prince with the No. 1 offense.

“When you line up beside Calvin Johnson and he asks you, ‘Are you good,’ I’m like, “yeah, I’m good,’ but you’re still shaking because you’re lining up next to Calvin Johnson,” Ebron said Friday.

“It was really good. I was lining up next to Calvin Johnson. In a play.”