What can the Panthers expect from Daviyon Nixon in 2021?

(Joseph Cress/Iowa Hawk Central via IMAGN images) Daviyon Nixon
(Joseph Cress/Iowa Hawk Central via IMAGN images) Daviyon Nixon /

What can the Carolina Panthers expect from defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon during his rookie campaign in 2021?

Daviyon Nixon‘s talent is absolutely unquestioned. The former Iowa defensive tackle was a commanding force over his college career and the Carolina Panthers obviously saw enough in the prospect to convince them he was worth bringing to the organization in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Just why Nixon was still around this late on Day 3 is the biggest concern. There were some serious character problems during the evaluation process that resulted in some NFL teams reportedly wipe him off their draft boards altogether, which saw a second-round talent fall into the mid-rounds.

The Panthers have shown a willingness to take chances like this on players in the past. Nixon needs to prove he can fit in within Carolina’s locker room as well as perform on the field against better competition. So there’s a lot of pressure on his shoulders during this important period of transition.

Nixon said all the right things during his recent press availability during rookie minicamp, where he put a keen focus on coming in with the right mindset and making his presence felt.

"“The expectation on me right now is to learn the system as fast as I can and the best I can to retain everything, and not have to think about things while I’m practicing and playing. It’s just a mindset. If you have the mindset that you can go out every day and do what you’re asked to do and get one percent better. Like coach tells us, then your mindset is perfect, and you can put yourself to anything.”"

What the Carolina Panthers can expect from Daviyon Nixon.

Nixon arrives on a defensive front that is loaded with playmakers. The likes of Brian Burns, Haason Reddick, and Yetur Gross-Matos are capable of causing some substantial damage from the edge, with Derrick Brown another potential stud in the making on the interior.

With DaQuan Jones and three-technique Morgan Fox arriving in free agency, there shouldn’t be a great deal of pressure on Nixon coming in and starting right away. This can only mean good things if he develops his craft and contributes on a rotational basis during his first season as a member of the team.

This will stand him in good stead moving forward.

Carolina has to bed Nixon in gradually. His high motor and ability to wreak havoc in opposing backfields only enhance his potential. But placing too much pressure on rookie defensive linemen does come with some complications unless they fall into the elite category such as Brown or Burns.

Expecting miracles from Nixon initially isn’t smart.

However, expect him to come on as the campaign progresses providing he keeps displaying the right sort of attitude on and off the field.

If everything clicks into place right away, Nixon could be one of the draft’s biggest steals when it’s all said and done. He fits the mold of what the Panthers are trying to build and assuming he becomes a key part of the rotation, then his attributes are a tremendous asset for Carolina to call upon.

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What comes next will be down to the player. But the NFL doesn’t normally suffer fools gladly and Nixon needs to show the right talent and temperament in order to succeed.