5 Panthers role players who will thrive on Phil Snow’s defense in 2021

(Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) Marquis Haynes
(Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) Marquis Haynes /
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(Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Daviyon Nixon /

Daviyon Nixon – Carolina Panthers DT

Getting Daviyon Nixon in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft could be a piece of grand larceny by the Carolina Panthers. Much will depend on whether the defensive tackle’s character concerns that caused a dramatic fall become a complication, but the talent is there for all to see.

Nixon was an extreme disruptor during his time at Iowa. In just eight games for the Hawkeyes in 2020, the interior lineman secured 45 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and even recorded an interception that he took 71 yards for a touchdown.

Most draft analysts across the country had Nixon graded as a second-round prospect, and with good reason. His alleged demeanor away from the gridiron put most teams off, but the Panthers deemed bringing him on board a risk worth taking on Day 3.

This was no doubt a humbling experience for Nixon. But he’s joining a locker room full of young talent that now has some strong veterans to lean on in times of trouble.

There won’t be any immediate pressure on Nixon to start right away. Although hopes are high this is a role he can fill in the coming years.

Derrick Brown and DaQuan Jones should be the starting tandem barring a training camp setback for either player. Nixon has a chance to be a primary rotational piece as a rookie and if he can produce on the field and keep his nose clean away from the team, big things could be in the player’s future.