4 Carolina Panthers rookies who need to shine most at minicamp

Dean Jones
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) Keith Taylor Jr.
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) Keith Taylor Jr. /
3 of 4
Carolina Panthers
(Joseph Cress/Iowa Hawk Central via IMAGN images) Daviyon Nixon /

Daviyon Nixon – Carolina Panthers DT

Just why Daviyon Nixon – a projected second-round pick – slid all the way to the Carolina Panthers in the fifth round is not important at this juncture. Character concerns or not, the defensive tackle needs to put everything like that to one side and show what he can do early and often this offseason, beginning at rookie minicamp.

Nixon has all the talent in the world. He is a wrecking ball on the interior when given the opportunity and if everything goes according to plan away from the gridiron, Carolina may have secured the steal of the draft.

The former Iowa standout will be scrutinized more than most during his initial transition. If Nixon can produce the goods during team drills and show the right sort of attitude, it will be a good start to putting the fears that made him fall in the draft to rest.

These are high stakes for Nixon, who is coming onto a defensive front that is loaded with young talent all developing at the same time. The Panthers won’t want anything upsetting this progress, so if their recent acquisition isn’t fitting in for whatever reason, Matt Rhule has proven ruthless in moving on from players who aren’t pulling their weight.

Again, what comes next will be down to Nixon. But dropping to Day 3 may have humbled him enough to see improved focus.