Scouting Report-McKnight arrived at USC as the next Reggie Bush, but those comparisons have never materialized. Having said that, I think McKnight could end up a better pure running back in the NFL. His size isn't ideal, but seeing him at 200lbs helps. And when you watch him play, there are a lot of things to like. I can see McKnight working well in third down situations because of his ability to catch the football(like Bush), but also like Bush he's not great at the blitz pick up. Where I think he's better than Bush is his ability to run inside. He has to learn to be a little more patient when he hits the hole, but he doesn't have the mentality that he has to make every run a touchdown, settling for the solid gain instead. Physically McKnight is a little long and thing, and his strength is an obvious concern. But his agility and quickness are elite and you can see when he gets into the open field just how hard he is to tackle. McKnight is also an explosive punt returner and adds to the special teams as well. The biggest shortcoming to McKnight's game is his lack of strength. He doesn't break tackles much at all, and even though he has tremendous balance, goes down easily, rarely getting yards after contact. Another concern with McKnight is ball security as he often doesn't protect the football very well.
Draft Status-It sounds like McKnight has a real underground movement to be drafted in the 2nd round. I can understand why as his potential is high and as a complimentary back, would be a nice pick. I would question however if he should be taken ahead of other more productive college players.
Final Analysis-McKnight was foolish to attend USC. He signed a letter of intent that sealed his doom in terms of potential. There's no reason to believe McKnight could not be a first round prospect, had he just had the good sense to go to a school where he could have been a featured player instead of buried on a crowded depth chart. Because of that, his development was stunted. He's an explosive athlete, with the speed to get outside and turn the corner, make players miss with fabulous agility and field speed that exceeds his timed speed. But his shortcomings to his game, as well as a lengthy injury history makes teams look twice. Drafting McKnight is an exercise in risk/reward. How soon do you draft a kid with so much upside, but some real concerns as well? I firmly believe had McKnight had a chance to spend 3 years in the spolight of a team, rather than as a gimmick would have helped him so much so whatever team that drafts him will have to decide if he's worth the time he'll need to develop, or do you just take him as he is, and maximize the physical gifts he has.
Reminds me of:Jamaal Charles, RB Kansas City Cheifs-Very similar players. Both are a little slight, really quick and agile and will get stuffed on some plays and break off huge chunks of yardage on others. McKnight certainly has the potential to be everything we saw from Charles last season and an even better receiver and return man.
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy