Back when NFL teams were putting in waiver wire claims for the volume of players released by their teams on August 29, the Arizona Cardinals were awarded two 49ers’ players: T/G Ilm Manning and C Keith Ishmael.
Yesterday, after the team placed All-Pro safety Budda Baker on the IR for 4 weeks, the Cardinals were able to poach S/slot CB Qwuantrezz Knight from the 49ers’ practice squad.
Knight, a 5-11, 195 undrafted 2022 college free agent from UCLA, was one of the multiple stars of the 49ers’ preseason.
Check out Qwuantrezz Knight’s preseason grades and stats in 56 snaps:
Run Defense: 68.4
Tackling: 63.2 —- 8 combined tackles (5 solo) and only 1 miss
Pass Coverage: 81.4 —- 4 targets, 2 receptions (50%) for 1 yard, 0 TDs, 1 pass breakup
- Note —- for the 49ers he was playing the slot. A CB at UCLA, QK has position flexibility, plus he has the potential to be a dawg on special teams.
- While the Cardinals did not put in a waiver claim for QK, they were likely one of the two NFC West teams that reportedly were trying to convince him to sign over to their practice squads.
- Now that the 49ers were not either willing or able to promote QK to their 53 man roster, the Cardinals have successfully poached him and have signed him, as they did with Ilm Manning and Keith Ishmael, to the 53 man roster.
Take a look at how the “49ers Miners” (5.7K subsrccribers) reacted to the news that Qwuantrezz Knight was poached by the Cardinals:
Commentary: why the addition of QK has me fired up:
As many of you know, for years now I have been imploring the Cardinals to acquire slot CBs because of the slot WRs we have to cover, starting, first and foremost, in our own division the NFC West (Lockett, Smith-Njigba, Samuel, McCaffrey, Aiyuk, Kupp,Atwell, Nacua).
You might recall, the slot CB I was touting in free agency was former Falcons’ slot CB Isaiah Oliver, who graded last season as one of the league’s best. But, what team landed Oliver? The 49ers.
So then, having lost out on Isaiah Oliver in free agency, I focused my attention on the Cardinals drafting Brian Branch from Alabama. Amazingly Branch was available at pick #41, but the Cardinals selected pass rusher B.J. Ojulari, who right now is flying off the edge two games into his NFL career.
I was relieved and very excited to see the Cardinals draft Kei’Trel Clark on Day 3, because I believe he fits the mold as a tenacious slot CB. However, because Clark has emerged as a starter on the perimeter, adding a competent slot corner like Qwuantrezz Knight appears to be a nifty fit.
Here, Larry Krueger, a highly respected 49ers’ pundit (23.3K subscribers), explains how bummed he was to see Qwuantrezz Knight get cut —- and not only that —- Kruegs admits that he has been so high on QK that he would have kept him over Isaiah Oliver.
Kuegs laments the 49ers’ decision to move on from Jimmie Ward. And it appears that he likens Qwuantrezz Knight’s abilities and physical traits (same size, hands and similar speed) to Jimmy Ward’s.
Now, obviously, QK has a long way to go to be even mentioned in the same breath as Jimmie Ward’s and the like. But it’s encouraging and exciting to know that the Cardinals have brought in a young baller who can play slot CB, while being a cog on special teams.
It’s conceivable that if QK has a good week in practice, in sure passing situations, from time to time, JG and Nick Rallis could assign Qwuantrell Knight to cover the Cowboys’ stud slot WR CeeDee Lamb.
And looking ahead to the 49ers’ game, QK has already had had ample experience covering Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey and Brandon Aiuk in practice.
This move by the Cardinals may have snuck under the radar for some, but, for those who know how dynamic Qwantrezz Knight was in the preseason, especially at covering the slot and forcing the run, this appears to be a very savvy and timely move by the Cardinals, wouldn’t you say?