5 Panthers players who have blown away early expectations in 2021

(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Frankie Luvu
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Frankie Luvu /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Daviyon Nixon /

Daviyon Nixon – Carolina Panthers DT

When the Carolina Panthers finally rescued Daviyon Nixon from his draft plunge, it was seen as a potential steal in years to come. The defensive tackle had a second-round grade from most analysts during the evaluation process, but reported issues away from the gridiron forced most teams to look at viable alternatives.

After just three weeks of his professional career, it appears as if it’s their loss and the Panthers’ gain.

Nixon earned a prominent spot on the defensive line rotation after a strong training camp and preseason. Something he’s brought through into real action with some outstanding moments.

The former Iowa star is an athletic specimen that possesses explosiveness and speed in equal measure. Perhaps more impressive is his high energy and closing speed when chasing down opposing players.

Expecting Nixon to surpass DaQuan Jones and Derrick Brown as a starter is very unrealistic. Especially with how the tandem is performing of late.

However, if he can continue making a difference when called upon and keep his nose clean off the field, it could result in Nixon becoming a dominant figure in no time at all.