Patriots

Bedard’s Breakdown: It’s time to give Kyle Van Noy his due as Patriots’ most valuable defender

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He doesn't get the opportunity to lock down an opponent like Stephon Gilmore. He doesn't have the athleticism and flair of Jamie Collins. And he doesn't have the game-turning plays and power of Dont'a Hightower.

But Kyle Van Noy has been the Patriots' most valuable defender to this point, and his quietly huge game in the Eagles' win was just the latest example.

Part linebacker, part edge rusher and full-time Swiss Army Knife, Van Noy has morphed into whatever the Patriots have needed him to be since he was acquired in a trade from the Lions in 2016.

He played on the line as a strongside run stuffer that year. In 2017, he helped fill the void inside after Hightower was lost to injury. Last season he bopped from position to position as a gameplan chess piece.

This year? He's basically been tasked with picking up the pass-rushing slack left in the wake of Trey Flowers' departure. And he's flourished there too.

Despite missing the first game for the birth of his first child, Van Noy leads the team in QB hits, hurries and basically has double the total pressures of the next-closest player (Collins). That was after he posted another team-high 5.5 total QB pressures against the Eagles. Mix in some good pass coverage and his work against the run, and Van Noy again led the defense with nine impactful plays.

You wouldn't think Van Noy had that much impact since he was barely mentioned by the announcers, but that's just part of the subtle genius of his game.

Van Noy must be a