2021 NFL Draft: Iowa DT Daviyon Nixon continues to shine

2021 NFL Draft prospect Daviyon Nixon #54 of the Iowa Hawkeyes (Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports)
2021 NFL Draft prospect Daviyon Nixon #54 of the Iowa Hawkeyes (Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) /

This 2021 NFL Draft prospect continues to take his game to the next level.

The Iowa defense has been strong this season and 6-foot-3, 305-pound junior defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon has been a major reason why. Nixon came from seemingly out of nowhere early in the year and has been consistently playing at a high level. He is quickly becoming a premier 2021 NFL Draft prospect at the interior defensive line position.

He continued his strong play against Nebraska on Friday, piling up eight total tackles (including three for loss) and a sack. On the year, Nixon now has 36 total tackles (11.5 for loss) and five sacks. He also returned an interception 71 yards for a touchdown a week ago against Penn State.

Simply put, Nixon has been fantastic this season and needs to be considered a legitimate 2021 NFL Draft prospect to watch. However, his draft stock is tied to more than some solid numbers through the first six games. Nixon has been a consistently disruptive force in the middle of the Iowa defense.

This prospect shows an impressive combination of quickness and power in the middle of the defensive line. He is extremely quick off of the ball and shows impressive upfield burst at all times.  He is an explosive defensive tackle who also shows strong hands and has a knack for shedding blocks.

Nixon has a ton of juice as an interior rusher, seemingly always ending up in the backfield when he is allowed to attack. When he pins his ears back and attacks forward, Nixon is nearly unblockable. He is extremely quick through the line of scrimmage and has a knack for knocking the opposing blocker’s hands away.

While he is at his best as a one-gap penetrator, Nixon can sink and hold his own as a two-gap defender as well. His scheme versatility and ability to impact the game in a variety of ways will prove to be extremely valuable at the next level. Personally, I like lining Nixon up as a three-technique penetrator more often than not, but he has the size and strength needed to hold up as a one technique player as well.

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Simply put, Nixon is an extremely gifted interior defensive lineman who has high upside at the next level. He put together another impressive performance against Nebraska on Friday and that is likely to continue as we move forward. Keep an eye on Nixon as his 2021 NFL Draft stock soars throughout the rest of the season.