Shawn Knight looks to be a better prospect than the player for whom he was traded, Denver Broncos defensive line coach Stan Jones said Thursday.
"I really think so," said Jones. "He's a lot more versatile than Ted Gregory, just because of his size. It's tough to make a pass rusher out of a 6-footer."Knight, a 6-foot-6, 288-pound defensive end, was a first-round draft choice of the New Orleans Saints last year, but he played sparingly his rookie season and was considered something of a disappointment by the Saints. He was acquired by the Broncos on Monday for Gregory, a nose tackle from Syracuse who was Denver's first-round choice this year but who had been equally disappointing.
Jones disagreed with reports that Knight is lacking in speed and upper-body strength.
"People say that," Jones said, "but we clocked him at 4.9 for the 40 when he was at BYU. And just watching him for two days, I'd say he has good quickness."
Jones also said he watched Knight bench press more than 400 pounds without much effort on Wednesday.
Besides getting work at defensive end, Knight was practicing at nose tackle, primarily because of the injury to Andrew Provence.
Provence, backup to starting nose tackle Greg Kragen, was placed on injured reserve Thursday after tearing the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of his left foot. Veteran Walt Bowyer, waived this week, was re-signed.
The Broncos typically rotate their nose tackles to keep them fresh, but Kragen was expected to see the bulk of the work in Sunday's opener against Seattle. End Andre Townsend also has played nose tackle. Knight is probably too new to the system to make much of a contribution this week.