Fiesty receiver that is willing to mix it up with defenders as a blocker, able to get position and hit his assignments there. Has good hands and shows ability to stretch and adjust for the errant throw, showing nice body control. Capable route-runner that gets a decent release. Shows some shiftiness after the catch, able to make guys miss in space.
Has a slight build and limits his effectiveness as a blocker, runner, and ability to make grabs in traffic. Gets pushed around a bit by defenders. Doesn't always secure the ball after the catch. Lacks ideal speed and burst to really separate from defenders and not really a threat to stretch the field.
McKnight is tough as nails, but not physically blessed. He'll have to play in the slot at the next level and coaches will have to fall in love with his intangibles rather than his physical tools. But he was a productive over-achiever at Colorado, that finished career as all-time leader in receptions (215) and touchdowns (22) and third all-time in receiving yards (2521), only a few yards shy of Michael Westbrook. He was a chain mover while there and a reliable option there. He caught a pass in every game he played in. His best year came as a junior, where he caught 76 passes for 893 yards (11.8 avg) and 6 touchdowns.
The player that McKnight reminds me of is Danny Amendola. Like Amendola, he's not flashy, but in the right offense that will make ample use of a three-wide sets, he can be a productive guy on those shorter routes. He'll be like Amendola and Wes Welker, a guy that runs a lot of 5-10 yard routes. Teams will come across more dynamic players, but coaches will like his attitude, work ethic, and toughness and he should manage to stick in the league for a long time because of it. He might not make an NFL roster right off the bat, as he'll likely have to prove himself on special teams first. He returned some punts at Colorado, but not to a level where you can think he can excel there. At least in the case of Welker and Amendola, they were very good returners in college, which helped them when it came to initially making that roster. And thus I think it'll be harder for McKnight to stick right away in the league. He might bounce around for a few summers, but eventually he'll land somewhere and be able to contribute as a third or fourth option. He may have to play in the CFL or AFL early on, but I imagine he'll be a very productive player in those leagues which should get him another shot in the NFL down the road. I think he'll make it in the pros on toughness and moxy alone, and be a nice third or fourth option that can catch 30-40 passes in the right environment.
McKnight has comparable toughness to a guy like Weems, and his ability to land a practice squad role in Atlanta right off the bat will depend on whether he shows any real aptitude for the return game. His toughness makes me think special teams coverage won't be a major obstacle for him, and I think he has enough value as a slot receiver that he can produce offensively. But if he can show that he's capable returning punts or kicks, then it really would increase his chances of making the practice squad. He's not going to make the Falcons roster off the bat, not unless there are some serious injuries, but a year or so on the practice squad, he can potentially push for a reserve role as the No. 4 or No. 5 guy down the road.
I wouldn't opposed to taking him off the board in the latter part of the seventh round for a team looking for a poor man's Wes Welker to fill out their depth chart, but usually his type go undrafted, and thus that's better value for him.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
After Catch: 3.0
Body Control: 3.0
Scouting reports of the wide receivers in the 2011 Draft.
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