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The Future 40, Prospect 10: Joe McKnight Scouting Report

February 19, 2010

A new series was formed over 2 weeks ago here at Bleed Green called The Future 40, and the next edition is here! The segment has and will continue to run every other day until late April as we provide you with in-depth scouting reports of some 2010 NFL Draft prospects, giving you information key to understanding some of the players’ strengths, weaknesses, projected round of selection, possibility of being picked by the Eagles, and much more! And because the Draft is an important event for the entire league, some of the top-ranked players not expected to go to Philadelphia will also be reported on. In the first look at a prospect, we evaluated Nebraska’s DT Ndamukong Suh, who many consider to be the best player in the entire rookie class. In the second, we examined powerful RB Jonathan Dwyer and in the other editions that have released, FS Darrell StuckeyLB Sean WeatherspoonCB Joe HadenQB Mike KafkaOT Ciron BlackDE Greg Hardy, and WR Eric Decker. This time, we will stay in an offensive perspective and look at Joe McKnight, who was requested to be covered by one of our fans:

  • Prospect Name: Joe McKnight
  • Position: Running Back
  • College: University of Southern California (USC)
  • Height/Weight: 6’0″, 190 pounds
  • Age: 21 years
  • Class Status: Junior

Summary: Hurricane Katrina and a number of other factors made high school life difficult for McKnight, but he certainly did not give up on his dreams to play football. Battling through the separation of his mother and other family members, the attendant of John Curtis Christian High managed to play as a successful Cornerback as a teenager and gain serious consideration from colleges. The USA Today newspaper was one of several organizations that listed McKnight among the best pre-NCAA players in the country. After speaking with current Saints’ RB Reggie Bush and the head coach at USC, he decided to indeed accept an offer to play as a Trojan, advancing his hopes to play in the NFL. In fact, he was named the “next Bush” by many fans and analysts, which has come to create a bit of controversy and dislike today. He began his collegiate career rather slowly, for he had a lot of trouble with fumbles and ran inconsistently in his freshman season. However, he was able to close 2007 on a good note as he finished the campaign with 206 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in the Rose Bowl. Heading into his second year, McKnight was a member of some networks’ Heisman Trophy watch lists, and although he had not done as much as people had hoped in ’08, he was improving nonetheless. On only 89 carries, he picked up 659 yards (an impressive 7.4 yard per carry average), and also added 21 receptions for nearly 200 yards. It should be noted that he was used primarily in a rotational system in 2008, hence his relatively low totals for a starting Running Back. Even so, McKnight received his time to shine this past season, in which he was handed the majority of the opportunities from the backfield. While earning a few awards along the way, the elusive runner managed to gain 1,014 yards on the ground, his personal-best total at the statistic. He also scored 8 touchdowns and assisted in the receiving game with roughly 150 yards. He is not considered to be among the top choices of teams’ RB wishes on Draft day, but is sure to receive some thought in the mid-rounds.

Career Statistics:

YEAR ATT YDS AVG LNG TD REC YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2007 94 540 5.7 65 3 23 203 8.8 32 1 0 0
2008 89 659 7.4 55 2 21 193 9.2 32 1 0 0
2009 164 1014 6.2 54 8 22 146 6.6 24 0 0 0

Notable Achievements/Awards:

  • All-Pac-10 Honors (2007, 2008)
  • Jack Oakie’s Rain or Shine Award (2007, 2008)
  • Phil Steele’s Reserve All-Pac-10 Honors (2009)
  • Heisman Trophy Watch List member (2008)

Strengths:

  • Runs with elusiveness and fluid hip movement that allows for evasion of tackles
  • Has quality frame for the RB position
  • Can act as a viable receiving option (caught over 20 passes in each of his college seasons)
  • When healthy, has top-of-the-line speed
  • Can be an explosive, dynamic play-maker as a rotational player in the backfield
  • Has surprisingly good pass-blocking techniques
  • Is an underrated runner up the middle of the field
  • Can cut the ball outside and burst up the edge of the field
  • Has excellent vision of defenders when rushing the ball

Weaknesses:

  • Susceptible to big hits and potentially injury with running style
  • Runs upright too often
  • Was involved in several incidents in college that resulted in minor suspensions
  • Struggles to avoid being tackled when surrounded or about to be brought down
  • Holds the ball very loosely, which could mean a high total of fumbles
  • Lacks the toughness and consistency to maintain a full-time role in an NFL offense

Projected Round of Selection: 3rd-4th round

NFL Player Comparison: Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys

We hope that everyone enjoyed the tenth report for The Future 40 prospect segment, and urge you to keep checking back for more scouting analysis as the series continues all the way up until the Draft! Also, remember that we will happily take and consider requests from our fans for this series! If you or another Eagle fanatic is interested in seeing a certain player be evaluated in The Future 40, be sure to contact us as soon as possible, and we will attempt to include your selected prospect!

(picture source)

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