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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: UTEP LB Tyrice Knight

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From now until the 2024 NFL Draft takes place, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections, and priority undrafted free agents. Today, a scouting report on UTEP linebacker Tyrice Knight.

#10 Tyrice Knight/LB UTEP – 6003, 235 lbs. (Redshirt Senior)

Senior Bowl

MEASUREMENTS

Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Tyrice Knight 6003/235 9 3/8″ 32 1/2″ 80 3/8″
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
DNP DNP DNP

The Good

– Possesses surprising power profile; really strong lower half to create easy pop as a tackler
– Outstanding eye discipline to fit against the run
– Good overall speed when working to the perimeter
– Nice zone instincts in pass coverage; able to close passing windows efficiently
– Sorts through traffic well; understands how to take on and slip blocks on the run game
– Extremely productive; knack for being around the football
– Comfortable playing in space on pass coverage and attacking the screen game
– Plays with outstanding motor and effort to make plays all over the field 

The Bad

– Guesses sometimes with his reads; can get himself out of position
– Takes poor angles of pursuit to the perimeter at times; can get out leveraged when taking on blocks
– Needs to be more patient in the passing game; can get grabby when the football is in the air
– Little evidence of impact as a blitzer; wasn’t asked to do it much 

BIO

– Started 43 games for the Miners
– Finished UTEP career with 390 total tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, two interceptions and 16 pass breakups
– Collected 140 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and seven pass breakups in 2023
– Began his college career at Independence Community College (2018-19)
– Attended Lake Gibson High School in Lakeland, Florida; no qualifier academically coming out of high school
– Invited to 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl and 2024 NFL Scouting Combine 

Tape Breakdown

When you see Knight’s body type, you may have an early assumption that he is purely a run-and-chase linebacker who utilizes speed and quickness to make plays on the second level. While he does, there is some substantial pop on his pads as a tackler as well. It may be the most underrated aspect of Knight’s game overall. 

It starts with his eye discipline. Knight is incredibly patient and balanced going through his reads, flowing to the correct spot more often than not. When he arrives at a ball carrier, he brings his pads with him and strikes as a tackler.  

Those traits are over Knight’s film constantly. A very underrated aspect of playing the linebacker position is being able to work through traffic and keep a clear vision. When Knight arrives at the football, the action typically stops. 

Eye candy, including pre and post-snap movement, doesn’t seem to have much of an effect on Knight. He remains patient even when pullers come to try and contact him. Knight understands how to sort through that chaos and find the football between the tackles. That allows him to be super consistent inside as far as true run fits. 

Some will raise questions about the level of competition and how Knight’s traits will translate to the next level. Fortunately for him, UTEP had the chance to face off against a couple of bigger schools, including Arizona. Even with that jump in competition, Knight showed that he was still in his weight class. He is a rep against former Wildcat running back Jonah Coleman, who is one of the hardest runners in college football. Knight is able to match that physicality for a big stop in the run game. 

In the run game, the patience that Knight plays with is by far the most impressive part of his game on the second level. A lot of linebackers take themselves out of the play when working against zone blockers. Here, on the outside zone, Knight is patient on the front side, then redirects for the huge stop on the cutback. That is high-level stuff for a college linebacker.

When working to the perimeter, Knight is a little less consistent. He can take some bad angles at times and can get out leveraged working through contact at times. There is clearly an upside in that department, with Knight possessing the skills to be a lot more consistent. He possesses good straight-line speed and effort to play in pursuit. That evidence is present in his film. 

In pass coverage, Knight also shows a lot of upside. He is a very smooth mover and clearly understands where his landmarks are in zone coverage. Knight is able to read the quarterback’s eyes and close passing windows. On this play, he quickly diagnoses and shows range for a pass breakup.

It is clear that Knight processes very quickly. On this particular play against Arizona, the Wildcats forced him out into space to the left. He quickly gets to his zone but recognizes that there is a crossing route coming from the other side of the field. Knight redirects and explodes to the football. He times it up well and is able to finish with a pass breakup.

The instincts that Knight plays in the passing game are easy to find on film. Here on the running back screen, he diagnoses incredibly quickly and arrives at the football with perfect timing. Knight ends the play before it ever gets started. 

The baseline of what you are getting with Knight is impressive. He puts out a lot of Dre Greenlaw vibes, having the requisite athleticism, instincts, and physicality to be an asset in every area of the game. Knight will need to take more consistent angles to the perimeter to be a consistent player against outside-oriented run schemes. He must also not guess too often. There are plays where he gets himself out of position by trying to be too proactive instead of reactive. 

Conclusion

A player who isn’t talked about nearly enough in the 2024 linebacker class is Knight. He put together a tremendous senior campaign, developing into one of the top overall linebackers in college football. Knight boasts an all around profile that is perfect today for the modern game. 

Projection: Third-Fourth round
Depot Draft Grade: 7.6 – Potential Starter/Good Backup
Games Watched: vs Western Kentucky (2023), vs Arizona (2023), vs UNLV (2023) 





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