STRENGTHS - Knott is an impressive player displaying very good overall athleticism, agility and running ability. He has good size and bulk for the position. He can cover a lot of ground and does a very good job in pursuit to the ball carrier in run defense. He is a willing run defender close to the line of scrimmage as he shows the desire to hit the hole hard and take on blockers so his teammates can make plays. He is at his strength when he can pursue the ball, and he has the range to do it sideline to sideline. He breaks down well and does a good job of tackling, but he isn't a hard hitter, more of a catch tackler than a hitter. The Cyclones rarely use Knott as a pass rusher, but he is good at diagnosing the run versus the pass and generally makes good decisions. He changes directions well and does a good job of staying with backs and tight ends in his area. He is good in both man to man and zone coverage, displaying a good feel for route concepts and getting good depth in his drop. He has quick feet and looks comfortable in space.
WEAKNESSES - While Knott is a good athlete, he doesn't have outstanding strength and can be bullied by tight ends and tackles when he doesn't disengage from them. He will need to improve his core strength as he gets to the next level. He isn't a powerful tackler and tends to hang on and wrap up more than aggressively take down ball carriers. He is a willing player when defending the run close to the line of scrimmage, although this isn't the strength of his game. He is much more effective flowing to the ball and running plays down with his speed, quickness and lateral change of direction ability. There is very little pass rushing skills to see from Knott as Iowa State rarely uses him as a pass rusher. Knott missed the final five games of the 2012 season due to shoulder surgery and he will have to check out medically in teams are going to select him.
SUMMARY - Jake Knott was an excellent outside linebacker in college, but a shoulder injury ended his career early at Iowa State and he will have to get cleared medically by interested teams. He is a good athlete, displaying good footwork, speed and quickness. He also flashes good lateral agility which allows him to change directions easily. He is good is pass defense, both in man and zone schemes. He is more a catch tackler than a hitter, but he breaks down well and does a good job of wrapping up. He chews up ground and can really flow to the ball, pursuing from the back side to run down running backs as they turn the corner and is an effective player from sideline to sideline. From a pass rush perspective, there is almost nothing to see from Knott. To be fair, Iowa State really never asks him to rush the passer and it's an area that teams will have to get comfortable with in the process leading up to the draft. Knott is a smart, instinctual player who led the Cyclones defense throughout his career. He warrants fourth-round consideration in the draft as he has value as a developing outside linebacker with special teams abilities.