- Ben Grant
Gamble Pays, Knight Signs
Photo: Courtesy NFL Draft Diamonds
On draft night, most analysists, including myself, were stunned to see Western University DT Deionte Knight fall out of the first round. He had been projected by many as the second overall pick, and no one had him falling out of the top five, so why did he drop? There was legitimate concern he’d sign with an NFL team. He wasn’t an NFL draft pick, nor was he signed to a UDFA contract, but he received two rookie mini-camp invites, and every Canadian scout knew how easily he could impress those clubs. Not wanting to take a first rounder who might never play a snap in the CFL, everyone passed.
When he was still available to start the second round of the CFL Draft, the Argos couldn’t resist. And it really was a gamble. I spoke with several reporters in Tampa Bay and Washington who covered the Buccaneers’ and Commanders’ rookie mini-camps, and they all commented on how difficult it was to distinguish between the rookies on the defensive line.
Knight’s showing in Washington sounded much more impressive, but with an established defensive line, he found himself competing against a high draft pick and sought-after UDFA’s for a single spot. In Tampa, the roster situation was more ideal, but the opportunities to showcase his talent were far more limited. At the end of the day, the teams were less inclined to take a chance on someone they hadn’t signed as opposed to someone they had.
And so, Toronto’s gamble paid off. This doesn’t mean he won’t get another shot in the NFL - if he plays well up here, he will – but it means the Argos’ second round pick will be a contributor this season. Knight signed his contract after arriving Thursday night and is expected out on the practice field all weekend as the team prepares for their preseason game in Ottawa next Friday.