"We have a lot of creativity in our defense and a lot of scheme, but the reality is we didn't get to a lot of it this past year," McCarthy said. "We're taking too much home with us after we're playing games."
BYU's Kyle Van Noy, who had a formal interview with the Packers at the Scouting Combine, could provide defensive coordinator Dom Capers with more ammunition. Van Noy did everything but pass out the peanuts and cotton candy during the Cougars' games. In BYU's 3-4 scheme, he lined up at outside linebacker, inside linebacker and defensive end. Wherever he lined up, Van Noy made a major impact.
Playing opposite Ziggy Ansah, who was Detroit's first-round pick in 2013, Van Noy piled up 13 sacks, 22 tackles for losses, six forced fumbles and two interceptions as a junior. As BYU's marquee defender as a senior, he wasn't nearly as productive, with opposing offenses steering clear of Van Noy as often as possible. Still, his four sacks, 17.5 tackles for losses, two interceptions and career highs of 70 tackles, 12 quarterback hits and seven passes defensed were good enough to earn him several All-American honors. For his career, Van Noy forced 11 fumbles and picked off seven passes to go with his 26 sacks.
"I feel like I've done a lot of things that people around me haven't done," Van Noy said. "I scored five career touchdowns playing defense, so I feel like I'm an offensive player on defense. I want to get the ball in the offense's hands, but also have the aggression to play linebacker. I feel like every time you get a sack, you try to get the ball out. Quarterbacks, some can't see you from the backside or some are looking downfield when you're coming from the front side. I feel like getting the ball is key. At the end of the day, it's all about getting the ball."
Van Noy produced against top competition. In the second game of this season, he collected one sack and five quarterback hits against Texas. Against Wisconsin, he had eight tackles — including two for losses — and an interception. In the bowl game against San Diego State to cap the 2012 season, Van Noy stuffed the stat sheet in every way imaginable. Among his eight tackles were 3.5 for losses and 1.5 sacks. He picked off a pass, which he returned for a touchdown. He forced and recovered a fumble and he blocked a punt.
"The bowl game, I kind of put myself on the map as well as Brigham Young as a whole," Van Noy said. "We're kind of been an under-the-radar team. Defensively, we finished top 10 every single year. For me, it was unbelievable. I hit every category in one game and scored touchdowns in one game. I look back and I think about how fortunate I was to have guys around me doing their job, and being able to put points up and winning the game was pretty fun."
Van Noy was also one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, which goes to Division I performers who have shown excellence on the field as well as in the classroom, community and character. He closed his collegiate career at the Senior Bowl, where he again showed his versatility by lining up inside and outside. Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage, a former NFL general manager, said Van Noy was the "most complete outside linebacker" at the premier all-star game.
Van Noy (6-3, 243) was OK during the testing phase of the Scouting Combine. He ran his 40-yard dash in 4.71 seconds, with a 32.5-inch vertical leap and 21 reps on the bench. While not a great athlete, his superior football intelligence, nose for the football and versatility will make him an option for the Packers in the second round — assuming he's still on the board.
"Van Noy, I like him," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said recently. "He's a productive guy in all phases of the game. He can drop, he can rush. The question is, what is he? I think he's probably a 34 outside linebacker. I've got a third-round grade on him. It wouldn't surprise me if he went in the second (round). It wouldn't surprise me if he went in the fourth."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.