Members of the LawlessRepublic.com staff discuss what NFL teams would be good fits for BYU’s top NFL prospects in 2014. This is the LawlessRepublic.com Roundtable.
The NFL Combine kicks off this Saturday in Indianapolis. BYU has a record five players attending the Combine this year. With so much excitement around these former BYU stars competing for a spot on an NFL roster, what teams would actually be good landing spots for these guys to succeed in the league? The LR crew discusses which franchises would be good fits.
Kyle Van Noy, Outside Linebacker
Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper): Van Noy is by far the biggest target coming out of BYU heading into the 2014 Draft. Last year, I felt Van Noy would have probably went in the 1st round. This year, he’s a mid 2nd-rounder. KVN can really improve his stock in Indianapolis this weekend at the combine. He’s the type of athlete that will impress in a combine setting.
In terms of teams that would be good fits for KVN, I’m really liking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I want to see KVN land with a team that has upside and has an instant opportunity. Bucs are heading in the right direction with former head coach, Greg Schiano now out the door. The Bucs have three OLB’s from last years roster that will be unrestricted free agents this spring. And the Bucs have the 6th pick in the second round. I like that fit for KVN because he could thrive instantly. They play a base 4-3 D which will be an adjustment, but Van Noy is a good enough athlete to adjust. The defensive line in Tampa is stacked which is another positive for KVN in Tampa.
Jeff Hansen (@rakoto10): Kyle Van Noy has the talent and athleticism to make a big impact for a lot of different football teams in the NFL. He has an excellent pass rush and the ability to make plays that not every player can make. His size is on the low side of average for an outside linebacker in the NFL, but his play making ability and nose for the football is very, very good. I don’t that his size is going to impact his ability to be a playmaker at the next level, but I do think that it will play a role in the longevity of his professional career.
I think that the San Diego Chargers should take a long hard look at Van Noy. Melvin Ingram was great in both the run game and the pass game for the Chargers and Van Noy’s talent compliments his very well. The Chargers have a good secondary and now need to get more pressure on the quarterback.
Other potential fits: Packers, Browns, Giants
Bean Mace (@beanmace): Ideally I would like to see Kyle end up with a very quick, athletic defensive team. KVN would be well served to be a part young energetic team, where his infectious attitude would thrive. Kyle’s style of play is very attractive to most NFL GMs and he will be a complete steal for whichever team ends up selecting him in the second or third round. My top five teams that would suit Kyle Van Noy are:
Justin Mace (@jmace22): In my opinion, Van Noy fell down draft boards after returning for his senior campaign. He struggled with consistency, especially with tackling. Despite a lackluster 2013 season, his ceiling in the NFL remains high. He is a speedy pass rusher who will relentlessly pursue and attack the quarterback. My pick for where he will land come draft day is with Buffalo. The Bills need another weapon to help stud linebacker Kiko Alonso. Buffalo is sitting in the number nine slot in the second round, which would be a great spot for Van Noy to land.
Cody Hoffman, Wide Receiver
@Mitch_Harper: What Hoffman lacks in creating separation, he makes up for it by catching every ball in sight. He needs to go to an offense that throws short passes or runs a West Coast style attack. A great spot for Hoffman would be with the Colts in Indianapolis. Successful franchise that has one of the best quarterbacks in football with Andrew Luck. The Colts have a stud WR in T.Y. Hilton, and Reggie Wayne is still recovering from a devastating knee injury. Hoffman would thrive as a Colt. But don’t expect Hoffman to go off the board until Day 3 of the Draft. Late value for a team.
@rakoto10: Cody Hoffman was an incredible receiver for BYU. His legacy will be forever remembered and he will go down as one of the best receivers in BYU history. However, there are some questions surrounding his game as he heads into the NFL. His speed will be questioned throughout the draft process. There have been multiple draft experts that have questioned his route running and how easily he’s thrown off his route. His size and his great hands will play a huge role in his ability to succeed in the NFL. I don’t know that he’ll ever be a #1 receiver, but I think he could be a very good receiver on a team that already has a couple of established receivers. Anquan Boldin has made a career on being a receiver with good size and great hands, but below average speed.
There are lots of teams that could use a receiver like Hoffman. I think that the Detroit Lions would be a very good fit. The Lions have serious weapons all over the field and are a pass heavy offense. Hoffman could find a role in a receiver core with the likes of Calvin Johnson and Nate Burelson.
Other potential fits: Bills, Cardinals, Panthers
@beanmace: For Cody Hoffman I would like to see the team who drafts him have two things in place, a stable quarterback along with a true number one wide receiver. Hoffman will succeed if those things are in place for him, his hard working attitude will be key in his NFL future. Hoffman needs a big combine to impress NFL teams, his senior season definitely hurt his draft stock but he will still be a nice piece to add to several franchises. Anytime you can add a school’s all-time leading receiver, that’s a good thing. Hoffman’s top five are:
1- Detroit Lions
2- San Francisco 49ers
3- Kansas City Chiefs
4- Denver Broncos
5- Indianapolis Colts
@jmace22: Cody Hoffman’s stock didn’t move much for me by returning back for his senior season. By coming back he etched his name into the BYU record books. While those records will improve his NFL resume, he didn’t do anything to significantly improve his skill set. He is a tall, possession-style receiver with great hands. Lacks the down field speed that can stretch a defense. Hoffman could find a spot on almost any roster, and my prediction for him is with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs play a short passing style offense with a quarterback who lacks a big arm. Their head coach Andy Reid has a history of drafting BYU players and this would be a great spot for Hoffman to get picked up in the 5th to 6th round.
Daniel Sorensen, Safety
@rakoto10: Daniel Sorensen is a great safety. I think he’s severely underrated as he heads into the draft. Sorenson did incredible things at BYU and was an anchor in the secondary for some of BYU’s best defenses of all time. He has good range and is a really great tackler. Sorensen has better speed than most people give him credit for, though it’s not elite level speed. I think Sorensen will find a way to be a very good safety prospect, but I think that he will have an immediate impact as a special teams player.
It’s tough to find a great fit for a prospect like Sorensen because every team needs a quality safety. I think the Jaguars could be a good (albeit unfortunate) fit for Sorensen. The Jaguars need help in a lot of positions on the field, but an underrated safety in the late rounds of the draft is a flyer worth taking.
Other potential fits: Packers, Texans, Vikings
Sorensen is a prospect that many draftniks are starting to put the tape on him, and walk away impressed with the skills Sorensen has. Athletic for his size and a hard-hitter. Sorensen will be viewed as a backup at first by an NFL team. The Oakland Raiders would be a great fit for the Colton, California native. Outside of Charles Woodson, there isn’t many players of note in the Raiders Safety unit. Raiders have many picks to work with in this year’s draft.
Eathyn Manumaleuna, DT
@rakoto10: Eathyn Manumaleuna is a great prospect. He’s big and athletic and like Sorensen is a prospect that not many people are talking about. He’s been an anchor on the BYU defensive line for what feels like forever. (Seriously though, it was Manumaleuna that blocked the field goal as time expired to beat UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2007.) He’s had a huge impact for the Cougars. I think that he will have a similar impact for a team in the NFL. However, there are a number of different concerns with surrounding Manumaleuna. He’s had a number of injuries during his career and is much older than other prospects in the draft.
I think that he’ll be a good prospect, but I’m not sure if Manumaleuna gets drafted. I think he’ll get a free agent contract and have a chance to stick in the NFL, but I would be surprised if a team drafts him.
Potential Fits: Cowboys, Steelers
@Mitch_Harper: Like Jeff was saying, I struggle to see Eathyn getting drafted. The pros to Eathyn though are the fact that he has a ton of experience at the collegiate level, and he’s versatile. Can play at end or in the middle. Most likely a tackle in the NFL due to his lack of speed off the edge. I like the New Orleans Saints for Manumaleuna. A 3-4 Defense where there’s a studs to learn from in Broderick Bunkley and Cameron Jordan.
Uani Unga, Middle Linebacker
@rakoto10: Uani Unga led BYU in tackles last season. At the end of every game BYU played this year I thought to myself how disappointing it is that we didn’t get to see Unga play for four years in Provo. In the Fight Hunger Bowl against Washington, Unga blew his knee out and put a significant damper on his NFL aspirations. Unga is an NFL talent. If he can get healthy in time to be able to show off his abilities, he will get a chance to play in the league. If, however, Unga can’t recover quickly, then I don’t know he’ll be drafted. Whoever does end up giving Unga a shot will get a steal.
Unga is a great linebacker. He has good speed, is incredibly strong and a great nose for tackles. He needs to go to a team that needs help on the defensive side of the football. I think the Falcons would be a great fit for Unga.
Other potential fits: Giants, Cardinals, Jaguars
@Mitch_Harper: Uani won’t be competing in the combine due to an injury he suffered in the bowl game. Says a lot about Uani’s production in 2013 (his one year as a starter) that he would still receive a combine invite. If Uani had not got injured, and he played at least two years as the starter in the middle he would have been a 5th to 7th rounder. Like Jeff I feel Uani goes as an UDFA. I really like the Washington Redskins as a potential suitor for Unga.
What NFL teams do you think are the best fits for the former BYU players that are headed to the Combine? Post your comments or tweet us @LawlessRepublic.
Topics: Buffalo Bills, BYU Cougars, Cody Hoffman, Daniel Sorensen, Detroit Lions, Eathyn Manumaleuna, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Kyle Van Noy, NFL, NFL Combine, NFL Draft, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Uani Unga