Zonovan Knight, NC State, NY Jets
Zonovan Knight, New York Jets, Getty Images

Zonovan Knight is hoping to crack the New York Jets’ roster as an undrafted free agent

The most popular undrafted free agent signed by the New York Jets following the 2022 NFL draft was probably running back Zonovan Knight from North Carolina State.

Considering his three solid years of production in college, it was somewhat of a shock that Knight went undrafted. Signing a talent like Knight shortly after the draft was an exciting surprise from the Jets.

Below, some of the most important things for Jets fans to know about Knight will be highlighted.

College production

Knight spent all three of his college years at N.C. State (2019-21), where he played in 36 games (12 each year) and was a very steady producer each season.

On the ground, he finished his N.C. State career with 419 carries for 2,286 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and 18 touchdowns. His best rushing season was in 2020 when he recorded 788 yards and 10 touchdowns.

As a receiver, Knight caught 48 passes for 337 yards over the last three seasons.

Physical measurables and athletic testing

Knight has a solid frame for a running back as he comes in just under 5-foot-11 and 209 pounds.

Knight had an average Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 5.85. The agility drills were where he tested best. His 20-yard shuttle time was 4.07 and his 3-cone time was 6.95.

His speed throughout the 40-yard dash was relatively average finishing with a 1.61 10-yard split, 2.69 20-yard split, and a 4.58 40-yard dash time. Knight tested poorly when it came to his explosiveness. He had a 31″ vertical jump and a broad jump of 114″.

Skill set

Knight possesses a lot of the key attributes to be a successful running back in Mike LaFleur’s offense.

Vision is one of the best traits Knight has as a runner. He is shifty, quick in space, and can accelerate to produce big runs. Knight has a great ability to make defenders miss with his contact balance.

One main concern with Knight is his ball security. The issue was prevalent for him each year of college. Knight had multiple fumbles in every season and finished his career with seven of them.

Knight will have to improve as a blocker to take on a role in the passing game.

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Special teams versatility

Knight has a chance of making the Jets’ final 53-man roster with what he can offer on special teams. Over his last two years of college, he totaled 30 kick returns and averaged 30.8 yards per return, including three touchdowns.

Final takeaways

Knight is still a very young prospect who turned 21 years old just last month. Overall, he has skills that mesh with the Jets’ zone running scheme. Starting with his freshman year, Knight produced good numbers in each year of college.

Currently, the Jets’ top three running backs appear to be all set. Breece Hall and Michael Carter will look to start becoming a top duo. Tevin Coleman is a great third running back to have with his speed, experience in the offensive system, and veteran presence.

From there, the competition is open. It will be interesting to see how Ty Johnson performs in training camp and the preseason. As of now, he still seems to have a chance to be the fourth guy of the group. La’Mical Perine does provide an element of size and power that could be valued.

Finally, if fullback Nick Bawden is kept, it could impact whether the Jets decide to keep three or four halfbacks.

What Knight can bring to Brant Boyer’s special teams unit will certainly help his chances. As a runner, he will need to pick things up fast while utilizing his vision, patience, and ability to make defenders miss. If he can check those boxes, Knight certainly has a chance to make the Jets final roster.

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Ryan Moran is a writer for Jets X-Factor providing in-depth analysis on all things related to the team. Email: ryan.moran310[at]gmail.com
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