The course of Demetrius Knox’s preparation for the 2019 NFL draft changed in a big way during the closing minutes of Ohio State’s 62-39 win over Michigan this past season.
With less than two minutes to go in the Buckeyes’ blowout victory over the Wolverines, Knox suffered a Lisfranc injury in his left foot, which not only kept him from playing in the Big Ten championship game and Rose Bowl – the final two games of his Ohio State career – but has limited what he’s been able to do in his pre-draft training leading up to this week’s pro day.
As a result, Knox will be only a limited participant in Wednesday’s showcase for NFL draft prospects. He plans to participate in the bench press and some position drills and will meet with NFL scouts, but will not be running the 40-yard dash or going through the full gamut of athletic testing that he would if he was fully healthy.
Nonetheless, he’s looking forward to being back at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday and getting his opportunity to make an impression on NFL scouts.
“I just feel like I get to show what I’ve shown over my years at Ohio State, and I just get to put on a little show for the scouts and the coaches and just prove that I’m one of the people that belong,” Knox told Eleven Warriors.
While Knox isn’t quite back to 100 percent yet, he feels good about the progress he has made in his recovery since he underwent surgery in December (surgery he actually pushed back for a week so that he could attend the Big Ten championship game and support his Ohio State teammates). He is hopeful that he will be able to participate in a full workout before the NFL draft, and is confident that he will be ready to take the field for rookie minicamp with whichever team drafts or signs him.
“I’m ahead of schedule as far as my recovery, and I’m back up on my feet, doing drills, running around, everything like that,” Knox said. “Everything I’m doing, I’m talking to my doctors and trainers ... At this point, everything’s looking really well for me.”
Knox has been working out and rehabilitating from his injury at APEC, a training facility in his home state of Texas, where he has been coached by former NFL offensive lineman Jonathan Scott, who spent nine years in the league. Knox said it has been “priceless” to have the opportunity to learn from someone with that much experience in the league.
“He’s seen the ins and outs of the game, whether it’s on the field, in the locker room, in the film room,” Knox said. “For him to give me pointers along the way, and any questions that I might have along this little process right here … having a person like that in your corner is big-time.”
Of course, Knox also had several teammates at Ohio State who are now offensive linemen in the NFL – including Billy Price, Pat Elflein, Taylor Decker and one of his best friends, Jamarco Jones – so he has also leaned on them for advice as he goes through the draft process.
Playing at Ohio State also meant practicing against future NFL defensive linemen – including two projected early-round picks in this year’s draft, Nick Bosa and Dre’Mont Jones – and he believes that experience helped prepare him for the challenges he will face at the next level.
“I’ve gotten a chance to go up against the Bosas, Dre’Mont, lots of guys in the league, and to be able to do that every day and then go into this next level right here, knowing what I’ve done in the past and knowing that I can do it in the future, it makes it a little bit easier,” Knox said.
Knox wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, and his recovery from injury could limit what he’s able to show scouts in the weeks leading up to the draft, which will be held April 25-27 in Nashville. He’s confident that scouts will see a player that’s worth drafting, though, when they go back and watch his film from Ohio State.
“I’m happy that my film gets a chance to speak for itself,” Knox said. “They’re gonna see a road-grader.”
“I’ve gotten a chance to go up against the Bosas, Dre’Mont, lots of guys in the league, and to be able to do that every day and then go into this next level right here, knowing what I’ve done in the past and knowing that I can do it in the future, it makes it a little bit easier.”– Demetrius Knox on how playing at Ohio State helped prepare him for the NFL
At 6-foot-4 and 312 pounds, Knox has the prototypical size of an NFL guard, and started 20 games at right guard for the Buckeyes over the past two seasons. He also spent time learning the tackle position at Ohio State, and has been working on learning the center position in his pre-draft prep.
He played enough at Ohio State that scouts should be able to make a solid evaluation of what he is as a player from his tape, regardless of what he’s able to do in pre-draft workouts, but he’s also looking to impress NFL teams in interviews and sell them on why they should take a chance on him.
“Anybody can cut on the film and see me perform and play and all that stuff, but when I’m having these meetings with these teams, I want them to really get to know my personality, and then on top of that, I want them to really get to know my football IQ,” Knox said. “They’ll get to know a lot about that from me when we have these meetings to know that I’m not just No. 78 at right guard, I’m a person who knows all the positions. Somebody who you can throw in at any spot and can just pick up like nothing left off.”