Promising Young Running Back Shows Appreciation After Re-Signing With Lions

Promising Young Running Back Shows Appreciation After Re-Signing With Lions

The Detroit Lions added to their running back depth on March 7 with a familiar face. Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz reported that the Lions will bring back former undrafted free agent Zonovan Knight.

David Montgomery Jahmyr Gibbs Zonovan Knight

“RB Zonovan ‘Bam’ Knight is re-signing with the Lions, source tells Bleacher Report,” Schultz wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “Bam has made steady progress after a season-ending shoulder surgery.”

On social media, Knight hinted at potentially signing a contract with a tweet on March 6. Then, he expressed thankfulness after re-signing in Detroit.

“God is good!” Knight wrote on X with a hand hearts emoji. Knight also included blue and silver heart emojis.

Knight appeared in two games for the Lions before hurting his shoulder in Week 5. Knight landed on injured reserve for the rest of the season.

He may have had just 3 carries in 2023, but Knight ran for 300 yards as a rookie with the New York Jets in 2022. He also had 13 catches for 100 receiving yards with the Jets.

In 2024, Knight could compete for the No. 3 running back spot and to be Detroit’s kickoff returner.

“Early expectations are that he’ll likely compete for reserve roles at running back and kick returner in training camp, as he did last season,” SB Nation’s Pride of Detroit’s Erik Schlitt wrote. “Knight certainly brings some serious potential after flashing potential with the New York Jets in 2022.”

Lions Re-Sign RB Zonovan Knight

Despite showing potential during the 2022 season, Knight didn’t make the 2023 Jets roster out of training camp. But after roster cutdown day, Knight signed with the Lions practice squad.

The Lions then signed Knight to the active roster on September 19. He received snaps in Weeks 3 and 5 before landing on injured reserve.

In those two contests, Knight rushed for 13 yards on 3 carries and posted 1 catch for 8 yards. He also had 1 kickoff return for 22 yards.

Knight was a highly productive running back at NC State during his college career. In each of his three college seasons with the Wolfpack, Knight ran for at least 740 yards.

In his final two seasons at NC State, he posted 900-plus yards from scrimmage.

But coming out of college, there were concerns about Knight’s quickness and creativity as a runner.

Detroit’s RB Depth Heading Into NFL Free Agency

With the addition of Knight, the Lions have five running backs on their current roster. Because of that crowded room, Knight will very likely have to compete for a roster spot.

It could be very stiff competition too, as Detroit returns David Montgomery, Jahmyr Gibbs, Jermar Jefferson and Jake Funk at the position in addition to Knight.

The Lions could also still re-sign Craig Reynolds, who is an unrestricted free agent. Reynolds has served as Detroit’s No. 3 running back the past two seasons.

The best way for Knight to earn a roster spot in Detroit is for him to display versatility as a depth running back and special teams contributor.

“The running back profile isn’t that exciting but his pass-catching potential and kick-return ability could improve his chances,” wrote NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein in 2022.

At NC State, Knight averaged 34.4 yards per return on kickoffs during his final college season. He also had 3 kickoff return touchdowns on just 30 returns.

If Knight could show that kind of playmaking ability on special teams during training camp and the preseason, he will greatly improve his chance to making Detroit’s roster.

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