While a lot is being made about Eagles latest draft picks, the team also was able to add some pretty good talent with quite a few undrafted free agents. One of those possible "diamonds in the rough" is Jake Knott. Knott is one of the top UFA's from this year's draft and has a real shot of making the Eagles. The former Iowa State Cyclone is a linebacker and special teams player, with the latter position likely to help him in his quest to make it in the league.
The 6'2" and 243-pound Knott has been a force for the Cyclones since his true freshman year. He was an honorable mentioned All-Big 12 selection in his sophomore season as the team's WILL linebacker. He was voted 2nd team All-Big in 2011 as a junior when he amassed 115 tackles, two interceptions, and four forced fumbles. Knott injured his shoulder in his senior year, which forced him out of four games, but he still was a beast on the field. Despite the shortened season, Knott still had 79 tackles, 5 pass break ups, two interception and two force fumbles. He is a tackling machine, having put up 324 tackles over the last three seasons. He likely went undrafted because of the shoulder injury that kept him from competing at the Combine.
Here is what NFL.com had to say about Knott:
STRENGTHSHard-working outside ‘backer who covers a lot of ground and is willing to stick his nose into run plays. Flashes speed to reach the sideline in coverage, also the change of direction to attack quick throws after dropping into his zone. Secure tackler, can break down to stop momentum and has enough quickness and upper-body strength to grab ballcarriers on the fly. Willing to eat fullback blocks in the hole to free up other defenders, uses his strength to work through blocks to the ballcarrier. Should be an excellent special teamer with his intelligence, aggressiveness and agilty.
WEAKNESSESNeeds to get his hands up to take advantage of his strength to shed blocks consistently, can be moved out of plays by stronger receivers and tight ends in the run game. Not necessarily a hammer as a tackler, ballcarriers can slip out to get extra yardage. Hasn’t been used as a pass rusher very often, lacks great closing speed but could be a factor around the line with his quickness and tackling ability.
NFL COMPARISONLorenzo Alexander
Mike's Take: When watching Knott's tape, you can see that he has tremendous instincts and adequate speed. The guy gets in on every tackle and is a master of wrapping up, something the Eagles have been missing for years. He does struggle quite a bit in coverage and is most likely a two-down linebacker at best. He does get to his spot with ease against the run and is vocal on the field, which Chip Kelly probably appreciates. Knott played WILL in college, but will likely serve as the weakside inside linebacker for the Eagles. He has special teams experience, and would likely be the team's replacement for Akeem Jordan. Speaking of Jordan, Knott is a similar player coming out of college. He is a bit undersized, pretty good run stopper and will excel on special teams. A leader with Iowa State, Knott is likely to be a positive influence in the locker room and is the type of kid you root for.
UPDATE: You may be familiar with how Chip Kelly's following at Oregon led to many Duck fans converting to Eagles fans, but apparently the love for Knott at Iowa State is equally matched. We could be seeing droves of Iowa State fan in our midst fairly soon.
Here is a cut-up of Knott and Iowa State against Oklahoma State: