Jaguars claim Kyle Knox: Meet the new linebacker

Otto Greule Jr

The Jaguars claimed Kyle Knox from the Seattle Seahawks, but who is he?

Lost in the fray of the Jacksonville Jaguars claiming Ricky Stanzi off waivers, the team also claimed linebacker Kyle Knox who was released by the Seattle Seahawks. Knox joined the Seahawks in 2012 as an undrafted free agent, so head coach Gus Bradley is rather familiar with him.

Knox stands at 6'1 and 220 pounds, so he's a bit light for a linebacker, but he's played all three linebacker spots for the Seahawks and on special teams. He's also shown ability as a pass rusher in the preseason, picking up two sacks and a hurry in just 24 snaps.

Here's what Danny Kelly of Field Gulls had to say about Knox when he signed in 2012:

Seahawks tend to evaluate potential based on measureables, and to go along with Knox's short-area quickness, he also has the advantage of possessing very long arms (33", 79.5" wingspan) and very large hands (10 1'8"). His hand size and wingspan are, not surprisingly, almost identical to Bobby Wagner. Little things like this are something the Seahawks have shown interest in, particularly towards the back-end of the roster when trying to find that competitive edge with every single player on the payroll.

I went back and watched some of Knox's snaps in the preseason and the biggest thing that stood out to me was the fact that he looked like a natural pass rusher, even when he lined up with his hand in the dirt at the LEO position.

Knoxsackgb_medium

You can see in this sack late in the game against the Packers he's able to beat the offensive tackle with an inside move, despite being only 220 pounds. He uses his length and hands to keep the lineman off of him until he gets inside, then rides in for the sack.

In another game where Knox picked up a sack, he once again did it from the LEO position but this time used his speed around the edge and was actually able to plant his foot and bend around to get the clear shot at the quarterback.

Knoxsackden_medium

On the very next play, Knox does near the exact same thing to flush the quarterback out of the pocket.

Knoxbendedge_medium

As you can see again, Knox seems to do a good job dipping and bending around the edge when he beats the offensive tackle can't get a hand on him initially. He plants his foot and turns the corner like good pass rushers do, especially if you contract how he dips around the edge to the pass rusher on the opposite side of him.

Now, this isn't to paint Knox as the savior of the LEO position, because he's probably right now a "core" special teams guy, but for a team who's desperate for a pass rush he might actually get playing time if he makes the final roster. He was buried on the Seahawks insanely deep depth chart at the LEO/linebacker position, so it's no shock they cut him loose.

Danny Kelly on why Kyle Knox was cut and what he's able to do:

Knox was pretty far down the depth chart but had been with the team in some capacity for over a year, I believe. He's athletic - when I watched him on the field in training camp I came away impressed - long arms, good speed, seemed to have some power to him, and looked very quick. He played a more traditional weakside linebacker spot for the most part to start out this preseason, I believe (to be honest I didn't watch him closely), but then came on against the Broncos and looked pretty damn good rushing the passer at the SAM spot.

What's notable about this is that the Seahawks' scheme this year has SAM and LEO both standing up (a majority of the time, anyway) and both spots are fairly interchangeable, personnel wise. The LEO rushes more, but the SAM is also more involved in the pass rush than in previous years (picture a '3-4' alignment with standing 'rush ends' on each side - this is oversimplified and doesn't account for gap responsibilities, but that's what the Seahawks' new scheme kind of looks like).

Either way, Knox showed good burst and an ability to bend on the edge to get around the right tackle on a couple of plays in garbage time against the Broncos so that really surprised me. He got one sack and I think he was close on another. Considering I hadn't really noticed him at linebacker before this, it was kind of cool to see. I have no idea what Gus has planned for him - he's probably too small to actually play LEO, but he might be a subpackage type of guy in the long run that can line up at SAM and get after the passer. Then again, he might just be a guy, and may never see the field. Obviously Gus liked him from his time here though, so it's interesting.

As mentioned earlier, he spent the 2012 season on the Seahawks practice squad, so Gus Bradley and Todd Wash should know him fairly well.

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