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Daviyon Nixon NFL Draft 2021: Scouting Report for Carolina Panthers DL

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor IMay 1, 2021

Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon stretches during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press


HEIGHT:
 6'3 1/8"

WEIGHT: 313


POSITIVES

—His calling card is his explosive first step, which sets up his wide variety of moves to make plays in the backfield.

—While not being an extremely long defensive tackle, he has good arm extension that allows him to fight blocks after his first three steps.

—He is quick enough early in the down to win at the snap of the ball and interrupt run blocks before the ball-carrier can hit the designed hole.

—In space and in the backfield, he moves like an edge defender who is 30 pounds lighter than his listed weight.

—His development is on a quick upward trend, as he has only seen FBS playing time since 2019. He was a non-qualifier out of high school and spent a year at Iowa Western Community College before redshirting in his first year at Iowa.

—He can play 3-technique or pressure nose tackle roles, where he has similar physical traits to Pro Bowl players at those positions.

             

NEGATIVES

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—Nixon is somewhat of a gambler because of his physical traits and ability to close on the ball, but in a way where one would expect more positive plays than negative ones.

—Stamina is an issue on film at times, but it could be resolved with a heavier rotation than he was involved in at Iowa.

—Handling base blocks and being asked to play both sides of an offensive lineman can be an issue for him, which should be a red flag for teams trying to play him in two-gap situations.

—Often sticks to finesse forms of separation like swim moves when taking away a lineman's hands to get off a block are better paths to success.

                   

2020 STATISTICS

45 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble

                 

NOTES

—Four-year varsity letterman in both basketball and football as a prep.

—Failed to qualify academically for Iowa out of high school but quickly turned around his academic career and again committed to Iowa. That was over the likes of scholarship offers to Alabama.

—He has gained roughly 50 pounds since he was a Wisconsin prep.

                 

OVERALL

Daviyon Nixon is a penetrating defensive lineman who has quickly risen from a 250-pound community college defensive tackle to a 300-pound FBS All-American in a matter of four years. His explosive traits are obvious, but they also mask some of the holes in his game. He has Pro Bowl upside as a 3-technique who cannot be matched in this class.

GRADE: 8.51/10 (Round 1)

OVERALL RANK11/300

POSITION RANKDL1

PRO COMPARISON: Fletcher Cox

                       

Written by B/R NFL Scout Justis Mosqueda