Tale of the Tape
School: N.C. State
Age: 21 (When Season Starts)
Vertical Jump: 31″
Broad Jump: 9’6″
40-yard Dash: 4.58
Shuttle: 4.07 seconds
3-Cone Drill: 7.95 seconds
Zonovan “Bam” Knight was a 4-Star recruit from Bailey, North Carolina. He attended Southern Nash High School, rushing for over 5,000 yards and 71 touchdowns in his final three seasons. He received offers from several top college programs, eventually landing with N.C. State.
Knight broke out as a true freshman (18) for the Wolfpack, rushing for over 700 yards and five TDS. Knight averaged 16 receptions per season throughout his college career, seeing a 6.7% target share his sophomore season. He consistently was one of the leaders in forced missed tackles among all college running backs. He also played special teams for N.C. State returning three kicks for touchdowns.
When it comes to the best parts of his game, Knight is exceptionally gifted when it comes to his combination of VISION and FOOTWORK. He is a patient runner and is adept at anticipating creases. He also doesn’t shy away from cutting across the field when he sees an open lane.
Another strength of Knight’s game is his CONTACT BALANCE. He doesn’t necessarily bounce off of contact, though. It is more evident in his body control through contact. Finally, one of the calling cards of Knight’s game is his ELUSIVENESS and WIGGLE. He is notorious for navigating small spaces well.
The Achilles heel for Knight, and the reason he lands safely behind the top RBs in this class, is his athleticism. He lacks top-end speed, and his short-area burst leaves you wanting to see more. Another flaw in Knight’s game is that he lacks a consistent understanding of who he should be blocking and when. He will need to land with a team that has a coaching staff willing to develop him as not just a special teams asset but as a running back to overcome some of his shortcomings at the NFL level.
Knight is currently my RB5 in this class. I should preface that that doesn’t mean I think he is a lock to see any meaningful work at the NFL level. There is a significant tier break from the RB4 (Rachaad White) and Knight. Draft capital will be a significant indicator of if Knight will have staying power in the NFL. He has experience playing special teams and has already been talking to NFL teams during the off-season process about his ability to help teams in multiple phases of the game.
Right now, I see Knight as a contributor in a committee backfield with some special teams involvement. He has the potential to be more at the NFL level, but it would have to come with a scheme fit and some developmental steps that help him to be a better pass blocker. Some ideal landing spots for him to get on the field would be the Saints, Jaguars, 49ers, Dolphins, and depending on what happens with Melvin Gordon, the Broncos.
Rookie Draft Value: 3rd Round
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