The 49ers made well-traveled cornerback Qwuantrezz Knight one of their 2022 undrafted free-agent signings, so let’s break down what’s in store for him his rookie season.
The San Francisco 49ers concluded their 2021 campaign by coming up just short in the NFC Championship game, realizing just how problematic their cornerback room was heading into the offseason.
As such, general manager John Lynch threw all kinds of resources at the position to help redress this entering 2022.
While it won’t garner anywhere near the attention as other high-profile moves, both in free agency and the NFL Draft, grabbing former UCLA cornerback Qwauntrezz Knight as one of the team’s 14 undrafted free-agent pickups is among those moves.
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
As shown above, Knight has bounced around the NCAA ranks a bit before settling down with the Bruins the last two years.
Turning 25 years old this upcoming season, he’s a bit of an older prospect, but the added experience might serve him well in terms of a chance of making the Niners’ 53-man roster as a dark-horse candidate.
How Qwuantrezz Knight impresses 49ers in 2022
The 6-foot, 199-pound corner does have the ideal body type for his position, and there are some promising notes on his NFL Draft profile from nfldraftbuzz.com:
- Flashes some physicality as a hitter.
- Good instincts and anticipation reads and reacts with discipline. Dangerous with the ball in his hands.
- Savvy cover skills to recognize and anticipate routes. Understands what’s coming and has good ball skills.
- Very good instincts, especially in the box. Sound and solid tackler. Takes good angles in pursuit.
- Can deliver the big hit and isn’t afraid to jump inside to slow the ball.
While it might be weird to anticipate Knight’s being “dangerous with the ball in his hands” in light of only one fumble recovery, no recorded interceptions and not a lot of work on special teams, let’s focus on the coverage aspects.
Those did result in an interception during San Francisco’s offseason workouts thus far, so perhaps he’s already making a case for the back end of the cornerback depth chart.
Why 49ers see Qwuantrezz Knight as little more than a training camp body
Knight potentially plays with good instincts and route recognition. But those are arguably the only positive traits working in his favor.
He’s not a playmaker, and his sluggish 4.61 40-yard time at his pro day likely points to him having a tough time keeping up with even modestly fast wide receivers at the NFL level. As such, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to view him as more of a safety than a pure cornerback.
If he does play corner, a zone-style fit is probably the only case in which he’d be able to cut his teeth as a contingency back-end-of-the-roster option.
Chances Qwuantrezz Knight makes 49ers’ 53-man roster
UDFAs always have a massive uphill climb when it comes to making a 53-man roster with any team, let alone the squad that signed them.
Such applies to Knight, particularly in the wake of the 49ers adding plenty of other cornerbacks this offseason. In addition to the free-agent pickup of Charvarius Ward, the Niners used draft picks on Samuel Womack and Tariq Castro-Fields, and that’ll crowd up the depth chart with returning players like Emmanuel Moseley, Dontae Johnson, Ambry Thomas, Deommodore Lenoir and others.
Needless to say, Knight will have a tough time even seeing a handful of snaps with the second-team unit during training camp, and he’ll likely be rolling out with the third squad, both in practices and towards the tail end of preseason games.
Perhaps San Francisco winds up liking what it sees in Knight, however, yet one could argue the biggest ceiling for him in year one would be a spot on the team’s practice squad, effectively earmarking him for further development.