Thomas Report: WR Johnny Knox

With the 140th choice in the NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears took Abilene Christian wideout Johnny Knox. From his notable performances to athletic ability to ball concentration, here is the most comprehensive scouting report available. It's a staggering amount of info courtesy of Dave-Te' Thomas. Have fun.


Wide Receiver/Return Specialist
Abilene Christian University Wildcats
5-11.5, 186
Houston, Texas
Tyler Community College
Channelview High School

Perhaps no player has improved his draft stock since the end of the 2008 season than Knox. With his stellar performances in college all-star game action, coupled with an outstanding performance at the Indianapolis Combine, the Wildcats receiver has had NFL scouts scrambling back to the film room to see the deep threat in action.

With his blazing speed and natural hands, Knox was the favorite target of Abilene Christian quarterbacks. In just two seasons at the school, he set the ACU and Lone Star Conference all-time record with 30 touchdown receptions. In just 25 games for the Wildcats, he caught 118 passes, the seventh-best career total in school history. His 2,227 receiving yards placed fifth on the team's all-time record list.

Knox was not highly recruited coming out of tiny Channelview High School, despite earning first-team All-State Class 4A honors from Texas Prep. He was named All-District 23-4A first-team and Offensive Most Valuable Player after leading the Houston area prep ranks in touchdown catches and receiving yards in 2004.

In 2005, Knox enrolled at local Tyler Community College. He appeared in four games as a true freshman, snatching eight passes for 137 yards (17.1 avg) and two scores. The 2006 season would be his "coming out party," as he paced the Texas junior college ranks with eleven touchdowns among his 37 catches for 886 yards, leading the National Junior College Athletics Association with an average of 23.95 yards per reception. He was rated the ninth-best receiver in junior college by

Knox transferred to Abilene Christian in 2007, earning second-team All-American and first-team All-Southwest Region honors. The All-Lone Star Conference first-team pick was also named the league's Receiver of the Year, as he set school and LSC season-records with 17 touchdown receptions.

Knox tallied 1,158 yards receiving, the fourth-best total in school history, grabbing 62 passes in the process (18.7 avg). He added another score on seven carries for 26 yards (3.7 avg), returned eight punts for 92 yards (11.5 avg) and had four kickoff returns for 85 yards (17.0 avg). He ranked second on the team, averaging 104.69 all-purpose yards per game, starting all thirteen contests in 2007.

As a senior, Knox was again named All-American, All-Lone Star Conference and All-Region. He led the team with 56 receptions, becoming just the second player in school history to gain over 1,000 yards receiving (1,069) twice in a career. He averaged 19.1 yards per catch, scoring thirteen times. He averaged 104.67 all-purpose yards per game, as he returned three kickoffs for 75 yards and 13 punts for 96 yards (7.4 avg).

2008 Best Games: Texas A&M-Commerce, Southeastern Oklahoma, Angelo State, West Texas A&M, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Northwest Missouri State

2008 Worst Games: Northwest Missouri State, Eastern New Mexico, Tarleton State

2007 Best Games: Central Oklahoma, Texas State, Eastern New Mexico, West Texas A&M, Mesa State

2007 Worst Games: Southwestern Oklahoma, Angelo State, Midwestern State

Knox averaged an incredible 19.9 yards per catch during his career at Abilene Christian.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


Body Structure
Knox has a wiry, yet cut frame with adequate width in his shoulders and chest, good lean muscle development and low body fat, but he has a small bubble and is too thin in his legs and hips. He needs further strength and bulk development, but his frame might be at maximum growth potential without the additional weight affecting his best asset: his explosive speed.

Athletic Ability
Knox has outstanding quickness and good athletic agility. He shows the flexibility, burst and acceleration to get behind the defender consistently, but seems more comfortable working on controlled routes than threatening the deep areas of the secondary. He has good feet and an exciting second gear on the move. He runs with a normal stride, but is quick to turn on the after-burners. He has good balance and change-of-direction agility. He shows the second level speed and explosiveness with a fluid natural running motion to run past most defenders in isolated coverage … GRADE: 7.0

Football Sense
Knox needs route refinement and must show better determination to run with the ball, as he does a lot of dancing after the catch rather than just turning and heading up field. He has the functional vision not to run into spots often. He finds the open areas quickly and does a nice job of working back for the ball, but relies more on his speed rather than football experience. He is a good learner, but needs a few reps and is still developing his retention skills … GRADE: 5.8

Knox is known as a team player and a decent student, but did not have the academic standing to apply for a major college coming out of high school. He is a conscientious person and a sociable sort with no known off-field issues … GRADE: 6.4

Knox is aggressive going for the ball in a crowd, but would have better success if he can improve his marginal-to-adequate strength. He has developed that ability to come through in the clutch. Despite his almost frail-looking frame, he is very tough and determined going for the ball. When on his "game," he will give a good, consistently high effort and is the sort that will play through minor pain … GRADE: 6.5

Work Habits
Knox is still maturing, but football is important to him. He is a good worker in all areas, a team-first guy who is generally the last to leave the practice field. He will need to be pushed a bit in the weight room, an area that he is sorely lacking in strength, but is the type that will embrace any suggestions from the coaches that will improve his playing ability … GRADE: 6.5

Knox has world-class speed that is evident when he gets a clean release off the line, as he is quick to get behind the defender, showing suddenness to eat up the cushion. When he sinks his hips, he is very crisp using his feet to get in and out of his routes, but if he fails to drop his weight, he struggles to get downhill out of his breaks. He has the ability to escape the hold up with solid head fakes, but must generate a stronger push with his hands and not expose his chest so often for the defender to get a piece of his jersey in attempts to reroute. He shows outstanding quickness in his release, with the shiftiness and avoidance ability at the line of scrimmage. Even though he is still developing strength, he does a decent job of eluding with nifty swim and spin moves … GRADE: 6.5

Knox is a very productive pass catcher on slants and crossing routes due to his ability to get open quickly. He is effective on posts, fades and go routes, but needs to get stronger to have better success navigating through traffic. He has that second and third gear burst to run under the ball and get there in a hurry. If a defender hesitates, Knox can change gears and beat him. He is quick to uncover and even quicker to separate on short patterns. He shows exceptional ability to get open deep, displaying that superb speed needed to take the ball to the house … GRADE: 7.5

Knox is very quick through his routes and shows good movement off the ball, with nice stop-&-go action. He is blessed with outstanding quickness on the field, which helps him execute short and sharp cuts. His initial burst is sudden, especially when left uncontested. He quickly gains advantage on the defender due to his speed, but is still learning how to gear down in order to prevent from out-running the ball … GRADE: 7.7

Route Running
For all of his explosive speed, route running is still an inconsistent area for Knox. He needs to be more consistent sinking his weight in order to negotiate out of his breaks better. He does not have the strength to power through tackles, so avoidance is key for him having success catching the ball. He also shows too much gather before he gets depth on intermediate patterns. He displays excellent quickness and foot speed in and out of his breaks when he drops his pads. When he plays at a low pad level, he shows good set up and body control, but needs to use his hands better to prevent the defender from attacking him and trying to reroute him with a strong push … GRADE: 5.3

Separation Ability
Knox needs to refine his cut mechanics (poor pad sink) and is inconsistent when trying to elude, as he rarely does the same thing twice. Despite his timed speed, he is not as sudden in and out of his breaks as his quickness dictates. His speed and burst should allow him to consistently get past defenders, but he does not have the power to break tackles. He is very quick in his running stride, especially when trying to pull and separate with vertical routes and short runs, but must show better leg drive to plant and turn once he has the ball secured … GRADE: 5.6

Ball Concentration
Knox will not hesitate to stretch and lay out for the ball in a crowd. He might not win many jump ball battles due to strength issues, but he has the courage and toughness to sacrifice himself in order to make the play. He has good concentration and keeps his keep eyes on the ball in flight. He still needs to do a better job of being aware of the sticks, but is very adept at working his way back for the pass … GRADE: 6.4

Ball Adjustment
Knox has the body torque and loose hips to adjust to the ball in flight, but while he has good leaping ability, his timing needs refinement. He is quicker to react to the short throws that drift into the deep ones. He shows the ability to make proper adjustments on ball and is very athletic to turn his body around as he tracks the ball well. His flexibility and ability to turn, allows him to excel at adjusting to the off-target passes. While he shows aggression, he lacks the strength to consistently make the catch in traffic (gets bounced around quite a bit by the more physical defenders) … GRADE: 6.3

Leaping Ability
Knox has very good leaping ability, showing the proper explosiveness to go get the ball and out jump smaller defenders, but he gets bounced around quite a bit by the second level defenders. His training room vertical jump does not translate when he needs to high point the pass … GRADE: 5.6

Knox has reliable hands to look the ball in and catch outside his framework. His problem occurs in ball distribution, as he dances and bounces around too much trying to head up field, doing so without properly switching the pigskin to his outside hand. He has soft hands to grasp the pigskin and the look-in mechanics with good concentration, but needs to attack the ball better than he does. He has soft, natural hands, but will revert to body catching, at times. He also needs to time his leaps properly to get to the pass at its highest point … GRADE: 6.2

Run After the Catch
Knox is much better separating when taking slants and screens, thanks to his ability to maintain acceleration and turn up field. He knows he does not have the power to break tackles, but when he gets too cute dancing around and moving backwards to try to separate, it usually leads to the defenders recovering to take him down. He has that game-breaking speed with the ball in his hands, but just needs to try the "meat and potatoes" route rather than try to get fancy with the pigskin. He is a "make you miss" type of receiver, who can take a short throw, have the defender grasp at air and then, turn it into a big play. He looks fluid moving in the open field, but has to rely strictly on his speed to separate, as he does not have the strength or frame to battle vs. the bigger defenders … GRADE: 6.5

Blocking Ability
Knox will give adequate effort, but only to pester. He does not have the power to sustain or wall off. He is quick to position as a cut blocker, but not strong enough to make an impact … GRADE: 4.8

Compares to ...
JACOBY JONES (Houston): Like Jones, Knox has the speed to simply fly past the defender, but needs to improve his strength in order to beat the press vs. NFL types. With 30 touchdowns over the last two years, he has proven to be capable of making the big play. I like him more in the slot, as he has great ability to turn and run on crosses and slants to separate than he does on long patterns. He tracks the ball well and has a fearless attitude operating in a crowd, but he needs to work on sinking his pads and dropping his weight in order to come out of his breaks better when running deep patterns.


Knox played in 38 games during his entire collegiate career, starting 33 contests, as he caught 163 passes for 3,250 yards (19.94 avg) and 43 touchdowns…During his two seasons at Abilene Christian, Knox had 118 receptions for 2,227 yards (18.87 avg) and 30 touchdowns in 25 games…His 30 touchdown catches broke the school career-record, topping the previous mark of 27 scores by Arthur Culpepper (1983-86)…Those 30 scoring grabs also tied the Lone Star Conference all-time record that was set by Gary Compton of East Texas State (1987-90)…His average of 89.08 yards per game receiving at ACU was the best career average by a Lone Star receiver since Romar Crenshaw of Southeastern Oklahoma State (92.1 ypg, 2000-03)…His 2,227 yards receiving rank fifth on the school career-record list behind Jerale Badon (3,311; 2004-07), Johnny Perkins (2,529; 1974-76), Arthur Culpepper (2,451; 1983-86) and Ronnie Vinson (2,431; 1969-71)…His 118 receptions placed seventh on the school career-record chart…Set the ACU and Lone Star Conference Season-record with 17 touchdown catches in 2007, topping the old Wildcats mark of 14 by Arthur Culpepper (1986) and Richard Williams (1973)….Joined Ronnie Vinson (1,214 in 1969 and 1,042 in 1970) as the only players in school annals to gain over 1,000 yards receiving twice in a career (1,158 in 2007 and 1,069 in 2008)…His 1,158 yards rank fourth on the school season-record list behind Vinson (1,214 in 1969), Johnny Perkins (1,195 in 1975) and Cle Montgomery (1,168 in 1977)…His 1,069 yards in 2008 placed fifth on the ACU annual record chart…His 56 catches in 2008 rank ninth on the school season-record list and his 62 grabs in 2007 rank fifth, topped by Ronnie Vinson (82 in 1969), Jerale Badon (73 in 2007 and 63 in 2006) and Bill Lockey (66 in 1968)…Gained 232 yards receiving vs. Angelo State in 2008, breaking the old school game-record of 228 yards by Reggie McGowan vs. Stephen F. Austin in 1985…Became the second player in Lone Star and ACU history to gain over 200 yards receiving in back-to-back games when he tallied 203 yards vs. West Texas A&M in 2008, joining Quinton Smith (221 vs. Southwest Texas State and 220 vs. Sam Houston State in 1981)…His four touchdown receptions vs. Angelo State in 2008 tied the school game-record that was first set by Scooter Phillips vs. Northern Colorado in 1985…Seven other Lone Star Conference players registered four scoring grabs in a contest, most recently by Dustin Pleasant of Tarleton State (vs. Midwestern State, 2006).

All-American first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report, earning second-team honors from…All-Lone Star Conference and All-Super Region IV first-team choice…The split end started all twelve games, leading the team, as he caught 56-of93 passes targeted to him (60.22%), as eleven of those tosses were deflected by the opposition…Became the second player in school history to gain over 1,000 yards receiving twice in a career, amassing 1,069 yards, an average of 19.1 yards per reception…Thirteen of those catches resulted in touchdowns, as he had key grabs on 24 touchdown drives and four other series that ended with field goals…Converted 9-of-20 third-down plays (45.0%), as 43 of his receptions produced first downs (76.79%)…39 of his catches were for at least 10 yards (69.64%), including 21 for 20 yards or longer (37.5%)… Gained over 100 yards receiving in five contests.

Northwest Missouri State: It was a rough afternoon for Knox in the season opener, as he turned the ball over after fumbling his first catch for the campaign, finishing with 19 yards on three receptions…Made up for that miscue with a second-&-goal grab for a 7-yard score in the third quarter.

Texas A&M-Commerce: Knox followed with six receptions, including five for first downs, as he gained 80 yards and also had a 9-yard punt return…Hauled in a third-&-4 pass for 12 yards to keep the team's first possession alive, capping that 6-play, 54-yard series with a 34-yard touchdown on a third-&-6 grab…His 14-yarder deep into A&M territory set up a 14-yard scoring burst by tailback Bernard Scott in the third frame…Offensive Impact-Caught five passes for first down, converting 2-of-2 third-down plays, as five of his catches were good for at least 10 yards, including one for longer than 20 yards.

Southeastern Oklahoma State: Knox tallied 140 yards on six receptions, including a 41-yarder that set up his 20-yard scoring grab of a Billy Malone pass to start the game. That touchdown was the 85th of Malone's career, setting school and conference records…His second quarter 11-yard catch set up Malone's 18-yard touchdown toss to Jon Ferguson...Offensive Impact-Caught five passes for first down, converting 0-of-1 third-down plays, as five of his catches were good for at least 10 yards, including three for longer than 20 yards.

Eastern New Mexico: Knox was held to 17 yards on one reception and 31 yards on three punt returns, but his 16-yard reverse set up Billy Malone's 17-yard scoring strike to Edmund Gates in the first quarter…His 17-yard catch was followed by a 1-yard scoring plunge by Bernard Scott in the second stanza.

East Central Oklahoma: The split end had another quiet game with 42 yards on three catches, adding 18 yards on two punt returns…His 17-yarder at the start of the second quarter set up an ACU 26-yard field goal.

Angelo State: After a pair of games with minimal production, Knox was ready for a breakout game and more than delivered, setting the school game-record with 232 yards on six catches, tying another school and conference record with four scoring grabs…On the team's first series, he ended it with a 59-yard touchdown…Later in the first stanza, he snared a 60-yard scoring bomb…In the second stanza, he had a 21-yard catch to set up Billy Malone's 5-yard touchdown toss to Kendy Holloway…That was followed by Knox' third quarter 47-yard touchdown reception…Late in the third frame, he pulled down a 29-yard scoring pass from Malone…Offensive Impact-Caught six passes for first down, converting 0-of-2 third-down plays, as six of his catches were good for at least 10 yards, including five for longer than 20 yards.

West Texas A&M: Knox continued to scorch the opposing defenses, becoming the second player in school and Lone Star Conference history to register back-to-back 200-yard receiving games…Totaled 203 yards and a pair of touchdowns on a career-high ten receptions…His 10 and 34-yard grabs was followed by a 22-yard touchdown to cap a 7-play, 85-yard first quarter drive…He followed with a third-&-12 catch for 34 yards that set up his fourth-&-14 haul for 15 yards, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by QB Billy Malone later in the opening stanza…He set up an ACU 29-yard field goal in the second quarter with a third-&-10 grab for 14 yards and a 40-yard catch to the A&M 14…With 0:42 left in the first half, Knox had a 21-yard reception into the red zone and ended that 67-yard, 5-play possession with a 20-yard touchdown…Offensive Impact-Caught nine passes for first down, converting 2-of-3 third-down plays, as nine of his catches were good for at least 10 yards, including five for longer than 20 yards.

Tarleton State: Knox turned the ball over once when he fumbled a late first quarter pass at the line of scrimmage and his only other reception was a 14-yarder.

Texas A&M-Kingsville: The senior receiver bounced back with six receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns, adding a 37-yard kickoff return and 12 yards on a pair of punt returns…He pulled down a 31-yard scoring strike from Billy Malone in the second quarter and used his 43-yard reception to set up his 10-yard touchdown catch late in the third stanza…Offensive Impact-Caught three passes for first down, converting 0-of-1 third-down plays, as three of his catches were good for at least 10 yards, including two for longer than 20 yards.

Midwestern State: Knox set up two field goals and a touchdown drive with his four catches for 52 yards…His first quarter 24-yarder led to a 33-yard three-pointer and his 16-yarder in the second quarter led to a 21-yard field goal…He added an 8-yarder and a 4-yard gain on a third-down snap to set up Bernard Scott's 14-yard touchdown run in the third frame…Offensive Impact-Caught two passes for first down, converting 0-of-1 third-down plays, as two of his catches were good for at least 10 yards, including one for longer than 20 yards.

West Texas A&M (NCAA Division II Playoffs): In their second meeting vs. A&M, Knox pulled down five passes for 125 yards…His late first quarter 25-yarder was followed by a 33-yard scoring burst by Edmund Gates…His 51-yard grab set up Bernard Scott's 19-yard touchdown run on the next series…In the second half, Knox caught a 27-yard pass for a score. That was his 28th touchdown catch as a Wildcat, breaking the old school career-record of 27 touchdown receptions by Arthur Culpepper (1983-86)…Offensive Impact-Caught four passes for first down, converting 2-of-2 third-down plays, as five of his catches were good for at least 10 yards, including one for longer than 20 yards.

Northwest Missouri State (NCAA Division II Playoffs): Knox added to his school touchdown record total (30) with a pair of scoring grabs, finishing his career with 44 yards on four receptions, 26 yards on a kickoff return and 7 yards on a punt return…He turned a third-&-7 pass into a 9-yard touchdown in the first quarter and gained 27 yards on a third-&-10 toss, followed by a third-&-5 reception for a 6-yard score in the second stanza… Offensive Impact-Caught three passes for first down, converting 3-of-4 third-down plays, as one of his catches were for longer than 20 yards.

All-American second-team selection by The NFL Draft Report and Daktronics…All-South-west Region choice by Daktronics and Football Gazette…All-Lone Star Conference first-team pick and named the league's Receiver of the Year…Started all thirteen games, setting school and league season-records with seventeen touchdown grabs…Caught 62 passes for 1,158 yards (18.7 avg), averaging 89.08 yards per game…Twelve of his receptions were for 25 yards or longer…Added 26 yards and a score on seven carries…Returned eight punts for 92 yards (11.5 avg) and four kickoffs for 85 yards (17.0 avg)…Led the team in scoring with 108 points…Ranked second on the squad with 1,361 all-purpose yards, an average of 104.69 yards per game…Gained over 100 yards receiving in four contests.

Knox lettered at Tyler (Tex.) Community College from 2005-06…In 2005, he appeared in four games as a true freshman, snatching eight passes for 137 yards (17.1 avg) and two scores…As a sophomore, he paced the Texas junior college ranks with eleven touch-downs among his 37 catches for 886 yards, leading the National Junior College Athletics Association with an average of 23.95 yards per reception…Was rated the ninth-best receiver in junior college by, earning NJCAA second-team All-American honors in 2006.

No injury report available for Tyler College…No major injuries resulting in any time loss at Abilene Christian.

4.29 in the 40-yard dash…1.47 10-yard dash…2.52 20-yard dash…4.15 20-yard shuttle… 6.81 three-cone drill…35-inch vertical jump…10'2" broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 12 times…30 ¾-inch arm length…8 ¾-inch hands.

Attended Channelview (Houston, Tex.) High School…Earned first-team All-State Class 4A honors from Texas Prep…Named All-District 23-4A first-team and Offensive Most Valuable Player after leading the Houston area prep ranks in touchdown catches and receiving yards in 2004.

General Studies major…Born 11/03/86…Resides in Houston, Texas.

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Featured on countless radio and television shows since the age of 14, Dave-Te' Thomas is also an accomplished sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for most of the teams in the NFL.

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