Better BYU Prospect: Cody Hoffman Or Kyle Van Noy?
By Ken Scudero
In the 2013 NFL Draft, Ezekiel Ansah of BYU went fifth overall to the Detroit Lions. He was considered one of the best BYU prospects in recent years. Now, the Cougars have the best wide receiver prospect and best linebacker prospect they've ever had in Cody Hoffman and Kyle Van Noy. They are among the best prospect tandems going into the 2014 NFL Draft, but who is the better NFL prospect of the two?
Cody Hoffman, WR
Hoffman has ideal size for a wideout, standing stoutly at 6-foot-4 and weighing 215 pounds. He's the definiton of consistent, having caught a pass in 32 games and still counting. He's gotten better in each year of his college career and had his best season in 2012, catching 100 balls for 1,248 yards and 11 TDs. He's caught 203 balls in his three years at BYU and even returned a kickoff 93 yards in 2011 for a touchdown.
Hoffman is one of those rare receivers who can take over a game, having done so many times in 2012, especially in his 12-catch, 182-yard, school-record 5-TD performance against New Mexico State. I could go on and on about his accolades and great numbers, but what's important is his NFL potential based on who he is as a receiver.
If I had to compare Cody Hoffman to anyone it would be Randy Moss. His rare blend of size, speed and great hands are shockingly similar to Moss, and even though he will drop a ball when in traffic or tightly double-covered, his playmaking ability outweighs those drops. He's the tallest guy on the outside to begin with, but he can go up and pull down almost any ball. He's the perfect end zone fade receiver, just like Plaxico Burress in his prime. His route running is crisp but it could use some coaching, especially on pump-and-go's. Hoffman relies on his speed to beat defenders and with some polishing on his routes, I'm not sure if Darrelle Revis could even cover him.
Kyle Van Noy, LB
Van Noy is a 6-3, 245-pound middle linebacker with Brian Urlacher-esque instinct. He's surprisingly quick for his size, bursting up the middle and stuffing running backs for a big loss before they can even tuck the ball. Going into the 2013 season, Van Noy has been named to Phil Steele's Preseason All-American list, the Lott Trophy Watch List and the Bednarik Award Watch List. He was named the CFPA National Defensive Player of the Year after a 2012 season which included 53 total tackles -- which isn't impressive, but 22 of those tackles were for a loss. Also last season, Van Noy had 13 sacks, two interceptions, six forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and a touchdown. He also blocked two kicks
The three most important qualities of an NFL linebacker are size, speed and strength, and Van Noy has all three of those. It's hard to pick an aspect of Van Noy's play which he excels at most since he does everything so well. He's a great blitzer, he's good in tight end coverage, and he can chase down most running backs when they're trying to bounce to the outside. Most importantly, Van Noy is excellent at disrupting the offense and creating havoc. He hits hard, forces fumbles, breaks up passes and even catches passes from the other team's quarterback. His combination of speed and ball instinct make him the most dangerous linebacker in college football. He is the best linebacker prospect I've seen in a long time.
Hoffman or Van Noy?
Hoffman is a top-5 receiver in the 2014 NFL Draft. He's an excellent playmaker and with some improvement on route running, he can be a very successful NFL receiver. I see him going anywhere from the late second round to middle of the third.
Van Noy, on the other hand, is one of the best prospects at any position in next year's draft. He won't make it out of the first round, I just don't see 32 teams passing on a player with his ability. Linebackers like him don't come around very often and after another monster year in 2013, he's definitely got the potential to be one of the first 10 players drafted.