Brandon Dixon, CB, Northwest Missouri State (HT: 5’11.375”; WT: 199 lbs.)
Sixth Round: 195th Pick
NFL Comparison: Derek Cox, CB, San Diego Chargers
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- His height and weight are the NFL average for starting cornerbacks. Some teams won't consider cornerbacks that are shorter than 5’11”, and Dixon is comfortably over that threshold.
- Demonstrates a sound backpedal with his quick feet and low stance. Staying low and balanced throughout his backpedal and transition when he changes directions helps limit wasted movement.
- Changes directions quickly using his fluid hips, allowing him to focus on the quarterback, because he’s not trailing the receiver due to stiffness.
- He reads the quarterback’s eyes well and does so consistently. In addition, he stays with his assigned receiver while tracking the ball, a trait that will translate to the NFL.
- Being a primarily zone cornerback at Northwest Missouri State, Dixon played to his greatest strengths. His ability to effectively roam his assigned zone is impressive because it shows advanced awareness and understanding of space around him.
- Great linear speed allows him to excel in Cover 3 zone. Combining his speed and fluidness, he can turn and run with almost any receiver.
- Hard hitter that seeks out contact, which is rare for a cornerback. His ability to support the run is a nice bonus for defensive coordinators to work with.
- Closes quickly on underneath routes. His anticipation and recognition of plays was solid in college and will be a big key to success if he can continue his quick mental processing.
- Uses the sideline to his advantage, an indicator that he has good spatial awareness. He doesn’t give the quarterback or receiver much room to work with on the outside.
- Could switch to safety if cornerback doesn’t work out. His positive traits translate to safety, and his concerns are lesser concerns at safety.
- Playing at Northwest Missouri State, Dixon didn’t face NFL-caliber receivers, so his learning curve could be steep. Although it isn’t Dixon’s fault the competition level was low, his ability to be productive against much better athletes is a concern.
- Being a linear athlete, he doesn’t have short-area quickness or burst. This limits his ability to consistently play man coverage, because he will lose positioning to the receiver quickly after the snap and cannot recover.
- Tends to catch the ball with his body rather than his hands, which leads to drops. The fact he gets into position for a turnover so often is impressive and important; now he needs to take the next step and finish every opportunity.
- His confidence can become shaken in man coverage, so he will have to learn to recover from being beaten, because it is inevitable. Young corners often have this problem, but it is fixable.
- The pressure of the NFL is much different than the type of exposure he received at junior college and Division II football. This isn’t a character concern but a general concern as his environment drastically changes.
- Two-time All-American and All-MIAA pick in two seasons.
- His brother, Brian Dixon, started at the opposite cornerback spot for Northwest Missouri State.
- Transferred from Joliet Junior College before the 2012 season.
- Twitter handle is @BDixs1.
Brandon Dixon is an unheralded player from a small DII football school, but that doesn’t mean he lacks NFL talent. His physical attributes and demeanor on the field are big assets, and Dixon has potential to become a very good NFL cornerback. His best fit is with a team that runs mostly zone coverage, where he can read and react to the quarterback.
Draft Projection: Fourth Round