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Why Zonovan Knight Should Make Jets Roster

This undrafted free agent can help out in both New York's return game and in the running back room, says this former Jets scout.

Every year there is that one player in training camp who bursts onto the scene.

This year that player is running back and kick-returner Zonovan Knight out of N.C. State.

You’ve got to love any player with a nickname of “Bam.”

He was commonly referred to as “Bam Knight” even by television commentators due to his punishing style of running.

Knight has a highlight reel on YouTube that lasts a little over eight minutes full of bruising runs and runs making the first man miss.

He additionally added a few breathtaking kickoff return highlights, that got the proverbial wheels turning.

Knight is an undrafted free agent who has exactly the type of characteristics that can make a team.

Kudos to the scout on staff who fought for Knight and to team General Manager Joe Douglas for signing him.

Knight is a tough, physical, determined runner, and he runs like he wants to win.

Those characteristics are going to make Knight a fan favorite throughout camp and the pre-season, and those characteristics are going to make Knight tough to cut.

Don’t look now but Knight is going to be one of Douglas’ toughest decisions and there is a strong chance he takes a roster spot from either RB Tevin Coleman or RB Ty Johnson. If I had to guess, Knight will beat out Johnson.

Despite Braxton Berrios leading the league as a KR turning in his All-Pro performance last season (30.4 avg.), will he now be looked at more as a receiver with his new contract extension (2-years, $12 million)?

Will the Jets want to reduce the risk of injury to Berrios who became quarterback Zach Wilson’s favorite target down the stretch last season?

If so, that increases the odds of Knight making the team. Currently, Knight is listed as the back-up KR on the team’s ESPN depth chart.

I was the first special team’s scout in NFL history during my third season with the Jets, and I am intrigued to see Knight in action as a returner.

Knight has building speed, vision, instincts and he is plain tough to bring down. These characteristics are very desirable in a return specialist running in the open field against the opponent’s worst athletes.

Grading Zonovan Knight

5-foot-11, 210 pounds

2021 N.C. State game film reviewed: Clemson, Mississippi State, Miami and Louisiana Tech

Grade: B- (Good player, but not elite; he’s good enough to win with)

Scouting Report

Tough patient and selfless runner with methodical speed that builds. Thick compact build. Split duty back. Takes handoff and he looks for a crease with good vision and instincts, but if it’s not there, he will run into the wall as many times as he is asked to. Tends to excel running wider, but not too wide. Does not have the pure raw speed to win the far edge. Is at his best when he can go a little wider and patiently flatten-out and hit that hole. In any situation, he is a handful. Tough to bring down and he can make the first man miss on a regular basis. Not overly elusive, but can sometimes put on a move to make a defender miss. Determined runner who runs to daylight. Gets more productive the more he gets the ball. Protects ball in heavy traffic. Ran his share of pass routes and caught 99 percent of what was thrown at him in these games. Good enough hands. Stayed in and sacrificed himself on a number of blitz pickups. Excelled as a KR (34.4 avg. and 3 TD). That average was tops in the FBS last season ( The type of player who moves the meter.

Bottom Line

This is exactly the kind of unheralded player Douglas excels at bringing in.

Once upon a time, Douglas brought in some guy named Braxton Berrios, when the Patriots cut the 2018 sixth-rounder.

Can lightening strike twice?

We’re about to find out.

I say Knight seizes the opportunity of a lifetime and he makes the team. 


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