2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Daviyon Nixonby Jack Gaffney April 20, 2021 0 comments
The 2021 NFL Draft appears to be light on quality interior defensive lineman, opposed to recent years. This however could open the door to players slipping through the cracks and becoming great finds later. Enter Daviyon Nixon from Iowa, a hyper-athletic interior defensive tackle who brings a good deal of tools to the table. After the best year of his collegiate career, he looks to be, yet another standout NFL find from Iowa.
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Name: Daviyon Nixon
Position: Defensive Line
Class: Redshirt Junior
Weight: 305 lbs
Off the snap, Nixon has a solid jump but can be beaten to the punch by his man if they are quick enough. When he does get to his man first, he can use leverage to get around lineman. Also, Nixon can use his hands to initially get by blockers and create pressure. Not his best trait, but not his worst either by any stretch.
Pass Rush Ability (7.5/10)
With 8.5 sacks in his two years in Iowa, Nixon showed proficient ability to rush the passer. Although his size could limit that production at the next level, his ability to weave around blockers with his finesse game can make up for it.
Block Shedding (7.25/10)
There were spots where Nixon had trouble disengaging from linemen on the block when he was one on one. On the flip side, there were more than a few spots where Nixon got double-teamed, which tells how opposing teams felt about him.
At times Nixon was handled completely by bigger offensive linemen and it showed on tape. Although a concern, it is nothing that some NFL weight room time cannot fix hopefully.
This is more of Nixon’s playstyle as opposed to his power game. Nixon found a great deal of success getting by blockers with good hands and using his athleticism to his advantage. Also showed the ability to get by blockers with stutter steps to gain outside leverage.
Football IQ (9.25/10)
Nixon for sure has the football knowledge to match his playing ability. An area where he lets this shine through is dropping back into coverage when he determines that it is necessary. There were two plays in 2020 where this led to some impressive results.
Firstly, against Purdue, he recognized an incoming double team and then dropped back to partially cover receiver Maliq Carr. With the coverage being tight, he then ran by the initial double team and got the quarterback. Secondly against Penn State, he got a 71-yard pick-six after getting into a passing lane. Then he had the recognition to cut back inside on the quarterback on the way to the endzone. Outside of this, Nixon frequently gets his hands up to try and bat passes as well. Also, against Penn State, Nixon ended up batting a ball at the line that resulted in a pick for fellow lineman Chauncey Golston.
Lateral Movement (8.5/10)
Already an elite athlete for his position as is, Nixon’s lateral movement is exceptional. On more than one occasion, Nixon was able to create plays on runners going sideline to sideline. The fact that he has great speed for his position helps.
Nixon in this area is as solid as you would hope. Very fundamentally sound and can create problems for opposing running backs and quarterbacks alike.
Nixon could see a slide due to him being more of a scheme-dependent player. Likely fits as a three technique in a 4-3 front. This obviously eliminates a fair share of teams from considering taking him early, or even at all.
Nixon is as relentless as they come on the interior. Very rarely takes plays off and is always trying to make something happen. Whether that be on the line of scrimmage or off, always look for the big fella to try and get involved.
Nixon appears to have a clean bill of health.
With there being a premium on interior lineman this year, Nixon could, and probably should go higher than this projection. Although a scheme-dependent player, not many guys carry Nixon’s athletic ability as an interior defensive lineman. Nixon also is entering coming off a season where he earned multiple awards. This including Big-10 Defensive Player of The Year, and unanimous All American Honors. . All of this should get a good chunk of NFL teams excited to select him when the time comes.
Final Grade (79.25/100): Mid Third Round