5 bold training camp predictions for the Carolina Panthers in 2021

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold and Matt Rhule
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold and Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Daviyon Nixon /

Daviyon Nixon will become DT3 for the Carolina Panthers

Asking a fifth-round pick to become a prominent member of the rotation in Year 1 is normally a tall order. However, the Carolina Panthers might have the exception to the normal rule in 2021.

Daviyon Nixon entered the evaluation process with a second-round grade. Character concerns surrounding the Iowa product put most teams off taking him, resulting in a dramatic slide down the pecking order before the Panthers eventually scooped the prospect up at No. 158 overall.

If the defensive tackle was looking for any extra motivation at the next level, he’s found it.

Nixon heads into training camp with a big chip on his shoulder. So it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him hit the ground running during team drills and the reps that come his way in preseason games.

Carolina has its two starters locked down in Derrick Brown and DaQuan Jones. Bravvion Roy should also play some part after impressing in 2020. But there might be an opportunity for Nixon to become the primary backup option and key rotational piece providing he shows enough this summer.

The talent is obviously there. That wasn’t in question at any stage before the draft.

But according to reports, it’s keeping Nixon on the straight and narrow that might be a problem.

The Panthers have shown a willingness to take chances on players like this both in free agency and from the college ranks under Matt Rhule. Nixon must now repay their faith with production on the field and exemplary conduct away from the gridiron.