Pats trade out at pick No. 28, pass on defense


Pats trade out at pick No. 28, pass on defense

By TomE. Curran

The Patriots parachuted out of the first round Thursday night, trading the 28th overall pick to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for New Orleans' second rounder (56 overall) and a first-rounder in 2012. That move, following on the heels of their selection of Colorado tackle Nate Solder, makes their Thursday night work less than scintillating. In making the decision to trade out of the first, the Patriots passed on a couple of front-seven defenders who seemed to fill needs. Muhammad Wilkerson from Temple and Cameron Heyward from Ohio State went 30 and 31 to the Jets and Steelers respectively. Both of those teams run 3-4 defenses like the Patriots do.Their decision to stand pat -- at least in Round One -- is an indication they think their pass rush is good enough, their edge defenders are young enough to bring pressure that won't leave their secondary hung out to dry in coverage. So while Solder fills a need and the trade down yields depth and promise for next year, the Patriots still haven't taken a player in the 2011 draftfrom what Bill Belichick calls the best group of defensive line prospects he's ever seen.Tom E. Curran canbe reached at Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Van Noy sees playing-time bump as he learns Patriots language


Van Noy sees playing-time bump as he learns Patriots language

When Kyle Van Noy was traded to the Patriots in late October, he had a lot to learn. He needed to understand the layout of his new team's maze-like facility. He needed to adjust to a new locker room. He needed to adapt to a new home. 

He also had to become fluent in a new language.

The former Lions 'backer was inactive for two weeks before he was comfortable enough with the Patriots system -- and the coaching staff was comfortable enough with him -- to get on the field. He played 29 snaps against the Niners in first game with his new club, then saw 28 plays against the Jets. On Sunday he saw his role expand as he played 40 of a possible 51 plays, which was more than Shea McClellin (38) or Dont'a Hightower (33). 

"Kyle has done a great job of working really hard to acclimate to what we’re doing, and he has had to learn really fast as far as the system, the communication, the language," said defensive coordinator Matt Patricia on a conference call Tuesday. "It’s like when you go to a different system, offensively or defensively, a lot of times it’s just learning the vernacular and the verbiage . . . That’s a big part of it. Then getting more familiar with that kind of terminology and the communication is critical because there’s a lot of calls and adjustments, things like that that we’ve got to do on the field."

Van Noy was making some of those calls himself on Sunday as he wore the green dot on his helmet when Hightower was on the sidelines. Even with the added responsibility, Van Noy was able to play freely enough that he put together what might have been the best game of his three-year career. 

Used at the end of the line of scrimmage as well as in a more traditional off-the-line linebacker role, Van Noy was effective in defending both the pass and the run: He stuffed three Rams rush attempts, he recorded a quarterback hit that led to an incompletion, he drew a holding call, and he recorded an athletic interception when he tracked a wobbling Jared Goff pass that floated over the middle after Jabaal Sheard hit Goff's arm as the rookie released his throw.

After several of his stand-out plays, Van Noy was visibly excited on the field and later on the sidelines. It was the culmination of six weeks of work, learning as much as he could from a coaching staff that was eager to teach him. 

"He’s extremely prideful in his work and his approach to the game," Patricia said. "He’s very cerebral. He’ll ask a lot of questions. He really wants to understand what we’re doing and why, which is great. We’re trying to give him those answers and insight into kind of where some of this either came from or developed or situations like that so that’s really good."