Below is a recap of what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin had to say about the team's pick of outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy on Friday night. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)
LIONS HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL
Opening statement: "I want to just talk about Kyle a little bit. Obviously, Martin hit the great majority of the things in regard to his ability to play. When he was here, we had a chance to really visit with him and just talk to him about some of the things that, obviously, he had done on film in his career, but also to get a good sense of what kind of person he was. (He is) a very, very solid individual. He thinks things out thoroughly. He's a guy that really loves the game, has great passion for the game and you can see it in the way in which he plays. (He is) highly versatile, and I know Martin mentioned it before, but this guy, he does a nice job just in terms of dropping in coverage. Certainly gets his hands on balls, can turn it over, but he also can rush the passer as well. He's a big guy in terms of speed and power. He'll be able to do a lot things for us at the linebacker position, rush the passer, and then also in our kicking game as well. So, those kinds of things we look for in a guy who plays this position and we're extremely excited about him."
On if Van Noy is expected to be a starter this season: "We know he is going to contribute. We know that right away, and he has that kind of ability. He's a dedicated individual. He'll catch on quickly to what we're doing. He's smart and he'll work at it."
On Van Noy's personality and character: "He's a solid guy. There's not going to be anybody in here we bring in that's perfect. You understand that part of it, but just in terms of how we have been able to take a look at him, he's our kind of guy. We're excited to have him here."
On Van Noy's play-making ability to generate turnovers: "It's great. It gives us a chance to get another guy on the field with not only just speed and power, because that's how you turn that thing over. You have guys that get around the ball, get around it quickly, and particularly defensive players that can move to the ball. You used to say, that old adage was, ‘A defensive player's value to his football team is inversely proportionate to his distance from the ball.' This guy can get to the ball, right? Without question, he's got the speed to do it. He certainly has a knack for it."
LIONS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TERYL AUSTIN
Opening statement: "Really happy about getting Kyle into our system. I think what he does is give us a big backer who can play on the ball, he can play off the ball and he can rush the passer. With those things you know you are going to get a three-down player for us and we are very excited. When he came in we got a chance to talk to him. The thing I really like about him, he is self-aware. He knows that his senior season wasn't as good as his junior season, but he knows what he has to do to improve and get better, and when you're a coach you always look for that. When he comes in here he is not going to think he has it made and that he has a lot of work to do to get better to be the type of player we want him to be."
On why the outside linebacker position is so valuable in his defensive system: "When you look at being able to pressure from different parts of your defense and not wanting to be static, you have to have some backers that have to ability to rush. I think that is what he does. He gives us that ability. He can drop in coverage, he can rush. When you put him on the field you can't just say he is going to rush every time, that's not going to be him and he gives us flexibility that way."
On if this pick will give the Lions an opportunity to play some 3-4 defense: "You could, but you need more than just an outside backer to do it. You need some big guys inside and I don't think we are built that way. We will figure out ways to use him and get him going, as well as some of our other guys. We will get him going because he turns the ball over. He creates sacks, strips, interceptions, different ways to get turnovers, so we will find different ways to get him as close to the ball as possible."
On his interactions with Van Noy prior to the Draft: "Talked to him at the Senior Bowl, brought him in for a visit and saw him at the combine, so we have had quite a few interactions with Kyle and every one of them has been positive. When you look at the type of guy you want in your defense and what you are trying to do for your team, I think he fits the mold."
On what else the Lions defense needs in this year's draft: "We want to improve at all positions. In the secondary, we would like to get a guy that has the ability to turn the ball over. Whether that is by interceptions or stripping the ball or getting the ball off of people, but we need something back there that will help us turn the ball over. I think if we give the ball back to our offense in good field position a number of times, then it would be really good for our team."
On how much it helps that DE Ezekiel Ansah knows Van Noy: "I think it's great. He already texted me and said, ‘Great, can't wait until he gets here.' It will help Kyle because he is coming into a new situation and somebody is here to show him the ropes and tell him how it works. I think that is always good and it will help him."
On the characteristic that separates a player from the rest of the pack on day two of the Draft: "You look at guys that play hard. No matter what the situation is, you are going to get their best effort every time. When you see that on tape, when it comes down to it, that's a characteristic that you have to have on your football team."
On the advantage of drafting a linebacker that can rush the quarterback and cover passes: "What happens is when you have a guy that can do both, in terms of protection, you may be able to get them to turn protection to him, and that frees up some of your other guys. When you have a guy like that, he is usually a mismatch for a running back or maybe even a tight end if they keep a tight end in. You can work it to your advantage that way. If they are worried about him, then they turn the protection and now you have one guy blocking Ziggy and one guy on the backside blocking someone else. There are a lot of things that can happen, but that's really what that guy gives you."