Zonovan Knight - RB - NC State
Welcome to the rookie profile for Zonovan Knight. Zonovan ‘Bam’ Knight is an incredibly patient runner with good vision who will identify good lanes to run into. Knight has also become a valuable part of NC State’s return team, scoring three 100-yard scores across the past two seasons.
Height: 5′ 11″
Weight: 209 lbs
40-yard dash: 4.58s
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: 31″
Broad Jump: 114″
Bench Press: DNP
Knight was a 4-star recruit via ESPN out of high school and was one of the standout talents, having run for a record-breaking 2054 yards at Southern Nash. Knight was in high demand and received multiple scholarship offers and opted for NC State.
In Knight’s freshman season he hit the ground running with 745 yards on the ground and finding the end zone 5 times on the year. In his sophomore season, Knight rushed for 788 yards and 10 scores on the year as well as an additional 136 yards through the air.
In 2021 Knight returned as NC State’s starter and his season didn’t quite hit the heights that we were expecting, chalking up 753 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns along with 156 receiving yards. He did, however, score 2 return touchdowns on the season.
Knight is the perfect size for the running back position with a 5’11 and 210lbs frame, he is explosive and has very good straight-line speed. A patient runner with excellent vision behind the line, he will pick the perfect running lane. He has good strength and is tough to bring down, forcing 81 missed tackles over his past two seasons. And he has all the skills to be a solid running back demonstrating a good stiff arm, spin moves, and jump cuts.
Knight’s excellent vision paired with his acceleration and lateral agility means that he can often extend plays, evident at the line of scrimmage. Knight’s good strength makes him a willing pass blocker who rarely gives up a play, protecting his quarterback wherever possible.
Whilst Knight clearly has the talent and attributes to be a very good running back, he never really hit the heights that we were expecting out of high school. Throughout his college career, he put up a respectable 2286 yards but in his final year didn’t progress as we were all hoping that he would.
Knight wasn’t used as a receiver as much as we would like to have seen by NC State. Whilst he possesses good pass-catching ability, route awareness, and soft hands, his college stats on this side of the game are far from impressive (48 receptions, 337 yards, and 0 touchdowns)
Knight is a more than willing pass blocker but he will need to tidy up this side of the game in the NFL as he can get beaten by oncoming rushers. And he’ll need to improve on his technique and efficiency to be effective.
A recurring shoulder injury may be an area of concern that will require medical staff to check out if there are any underlying issues.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Round 5
Knight would be a good selection for the LA Rams after an injury-hit season at running back. After the Rams went all in and traded away draft picks they won’t be on the clock until the 5th round this year. His skills as a good kick returner will tick off another area of the game where the Rams have struggled this season.
Post Draft Analysis
New York Jets- UDFA
In a word, none. He is way off the pace in breaking the top four on the New York Jets running back depth chart. Knight appears set to play a part in the Jets’ special teams but I can’t foresee any fantasy value now or in the long term.
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Image Credit: Paul Rutherford – USA TODAY Sports