Running Back Week: Joe McKnight

Running Back Week: Joe McKnight

All week, we’ll be giving a scouting preview of a different running back who are coming out in the upcoming NFL Draft who may or may not fit the zone blocking system. Today, we’ll take a look at Pete Carroll’s old buddy, Joe McKnight.

Who is he?

McKnight is a somewhat injury-plagued tailback with blazing speed, especially coming out of his cuts. He was one of the most explosive backs in the NCAA last year, and was a perfect fit for Carroll and Bates’ system. He’s light on his feet and can make defenders miss, but despite his size – 6’0” 200 lbs, McKnight doesn’t have the power some might expect of him. He is more of a speed-back (expected to run in the mid-4.3s) than a power guy, and has some issues with ball security. He ultimately did not live up to his expectations coming out of high school, but that might play into his hands as he might be given a chance to surprise some folks in the NFL.

How does he fit the scheme?

Joe McKnight is Carroll’s prototypical running back, save for the ball security issues. He is excellent in the “one cut and go” system that we heard so much about last year, and has no trouble identifying his lane. He is fast and quick, and would be a nice complement to Justin Forsett’s powerful running style. There’s a reason he is a third-fourth round projection though: he has had one healthy season, and even in that one he missed two games. His blitz pickup and catching skills are both top-rate, but he has a lot of question marks.


The Combine means more to Joe McKnight than almost anyone else. He has all the tools and skills to be a first round back, but all the question marks to fall into the middle rounds where he is currently projected. The Seahawks will not take the risk with McKnight in the 2nd round, but they could in the fourth if he’s available, and if Schneider pulls off a trade to get us back a third round pick, he could be taken there too.