Tyrice Knight’s Draft Profile | UTEP, LB Scouting Report

What does the 2024 NFL Draft scouting report of UTEP LB Tyrice Knight say about his NFL projection? Can he start at the professional level?

In the wide-open 2024 NFL Draft linebacker class, could UTEP’s Tyrice Knight be a steal with his scouting report? The Miners star put up massive numbers in 2023, and he has the tape to intrigue NFL evaluators.

Tyrice Knight Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’0 3/8″
  • Weight: 235 pounds
  • Length: 32 1/2″
  • Wingspan: 80 3/8″
  • Hand: 9 3/8″
  • Position: Linebacker
  • School: UTEP
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior

In 2019, Knight was a little-known LB at Independence Community College. By 2021, he was one of the leading tacklers for the bowl-bound UTEP Miners and a rising defender on the FBS stage.

Knight has been on the upswing ever since his elevation to the FBS level, and he saved his best for last in 2023 — amassing 140 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, seven pass deflections, a forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries in just 12 games.

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Knight’s production earned him first-team All-CUSA honors and also landed him on the radar of the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine committee. The work on the field has been done. And now, the Miners product is rising up the 2024 NFL Draft board.

Knight’s Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Explosive short-area athlete with great lateral burst and freedom of motion.
  • Has the explosiveness to quickly correct tackling angles and gain back positioning.
  • Springy lateral mover and an urgent accelerator with impressive range in the box.
  • Sports a dense, compact, and well-leveraged frame with great length and reach.
  • Quickly diagnoses pullers and run direction, shading across gaps while staying square.
  • Uses pullers as means to ID landmarks and can play gaps with patience and physicality.
  • Can use micro-movements to avoid second-level climbers and sift through congestion.
  • Has shown he can engage second-level blocks with length, keeping himself clean.
  • Adaptable processor who can quickly react to RB redirections and reset his leverage.
  • Takes in information and synthesizes it extremely quickly, rapidly keying in on plays.
  • Follows the ball on misdirection plays and doesn’t often fall for eye candy.
  • Proactively uses his length to occlude passing lanes and contest throws in coverage.
  • Instinctive coverage playmaker with sharp route recognition and reactive quickness.
  • Can explode into contact with his lower half and use his frame to wrap up tackles.
  • Length and upper-body strength allow him to wrench down runners in pursuit.

Weaknesses

  • Doesn’t have elite speed in pursuit and isn’t always able to seal off the boundary.
  • Option plays can bait him into wasting motion on premature triggers, delaying response.
  • Sometimes overruns horizontal pursuit angles and can mistime tackling breakdowns.
  • Sometimes wraps too low as a tackler and lets runners pry through arm tackles.
  • Occasionally drifts too far forward into OL’s reach, limiting his ability to break free.
  • Can still be more consistent and proactive at using his length as a tool in congestion.
  • Play strength, while solid, is not yet elite and can impact deconstruction against OL.
  • Sometimes plants his feet too early when engaging blocks, flattening feet on transitions.
  • Can play too tall and upright into blocks, making it easier for OL to get inside his frame.
  • On occasion, prematurely commits to motion pursuit on play-action fakes.
  • At times turns his eyes away from the QB too early when recovering ground in coverage.
  • Can be more consistent getting proper depth in coverage and maintaining angles.
  • Still has room to improve his upper-lower synergy as a pass-rushing threat.
  • Has the agility to stack spins and counters but is still improving his sequencing.
  • Doesn’t have an elite pursuit motor, sometimes fading as plays reach the boundary.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Knight grades out as an early Day 3 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft who could be a surprise top-100 pick if he tests well. In an unsettled LB class, Knight has the chance to be a riser through the process, and if he lands in the right spot, he could be a superb value acquisition for a defensive coordinator.

At 6’0″ and 234 pounds, with near-33″ arms, Knight has great proportional length and a compact frame. Within that build, he’s an explosive, springy short-area athlete with great lateral mobility and attack speed, as well as the fluidity to play in coverage.

Particularly at the second level, tracking run plays in congestion is when Knight is most impressive. He does a great job taking in information in the short one-second post-snap window and can use pullers and block directions to key in on gaps.

To that end, Knight also has the energetic athleticism, control, and micro-mobility to sift through narrow lanes and flow to the ball, and he also excels at using his frame and length to play square to gaps, clog running lanes, and envelop runners.

Across the board, Knight can be hot and cold at times. Particularly with his applied physicality, he still has room to play with better alignment and more consistently use his length to combat blocks. And as a tackler, he can better engage with his length as well.

Nevertheless, Knight is an athletic, well-rounded LB prospect with great processing ability, and he also has the instincts and playmaking ability to thrive in coverage along with having the redirection ability and burst to provide a pass-rushing boost.

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With a bit more mass added to his frame, Knight can function as a solid SAM linebacker in the box. But at his peak, with more refinement, he can be a quality starter at the MIKE and WILL spot as well.

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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