NY Jets RB Zonovan Knight makes history in his NFL debut

NY Jets, Zonovan Knight
NY Jets, Zonovan Knight / Al Bello/GettyImages

The NY Jets cruised to a 31-10 victory over the Chicago Bears in Week 12, and while the headlines will undoubtedly be about the emergence of Mike White, another Jets player made a little history of his own in the process.

Undrafted running back Zonovan Knight was active for the first time in his NFL career and was called upon to make his debut with James Robinson a surprise healthy scratch. Little did the Jets know just how significant of a role Knight would play on Sunday.

Starting running back Michael Carter exited the game with an ankle injury in the first half forcing Knight into a prominent role as the team's de facto RB1. He more than took advantage of the opportunity.

Knight finished the game with 69 rushing yards and 34 receiving yards on three catches, a total of 103 scrimmage yards. Those 103 scrimmage yards are the most by any Jets player in their NFL debut in franchise history.

That's how you make a first impression.

Zonovan Knight proved he deserves a sizable role in the NY Jets' offense

A three-year contributor at NC State, Knight led the Wolfpack in rushing in each of his three collegiate seasons. Despite being considered a Day 3 prospect, he surprisingly wasn't selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Knight was the most high-profile of the Jets' undrafted signings this spring and he turned some heads with an impressive summer. It wasn't enough to make the Jets' roster, however, and he spent the first few weeks of the season on the team's practice squad.

That was until an injury to fellow rookie Breece Hall prompted the Jets to promote Knight to the active roster. Still, he wasn't able to see the field until this week.

Head coach Robert Saleh told reporters after the game that the Jets preferred Knight's running style over Robinson's and they wanted to see what he could do in action.

After Knight's performance on Sunday, it's hard to imagine his role will diminish anytime soon. That's especially true if Carter's ankle injury keeps him sidelined for any period of time.

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Zonovan Knight seems primed to handle a significant workload moving forward. If debuts are anything to go off of, the Jets might have found a diamond in the rough in the man they call "Bam."