The Las Vegas Raiders will need to address the interior of their defensive line this upcoming draft, but who would make an impact? Maybe defensive tackle prospect Daviyon Nixon could offer some assistance.
Improving the interior of their defensive line should be of the utmost importance for Raiders brass. Maliek Collins turned out to be a disappointment and Johnathan Hankins might end up leaving for greener pastures. Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell could excel on the outside if Las Vegas could generate pressure from the inside, a potent pass rush from the inside would do wonders. Unfortunately, Jon Gruden’s defense just doesn’t have that caliber of talent at the moment. Free agency didn’t help this year, so picking up Nixon could be a nice start.
Recapping Nixon’s Time At Iowa
Nixon has had a noteworthy career at Iowa these past two seasons, however, he’s really stood out statistically this year. He’s amassed 13.5 tackles for a loss, five and a half sacks, and a forced fumble. He even returned an interception for 71 yards against Penn State. His instincts and on-field awareness are excellent, not to mention it’s always impressive when a big fella can return a pick that distance.
Nixon took a total of 469 snaps within the Iowa defensive line this season and has a 72.9 Pro Football Focus overall grade. Nixon’s strongest attribute is his pass rush, and PFF grades it at 68.4 for the year. Most recently, Mel Kiper, ESPN’s senior Draft analyst, has him ranked as the number one defensive tackle.
What Could Nixon Bring To The Raiders?
Nixon’s Iowa teammates and coaching staff rave about his instincts and his knack for getting to the quarterback. For the Raiders, this is sorely missing. They need a defensive tackle that can generate pressure up the middle, which would, in theory, free up Ferrell and Crosby on the outside. Nixon’s sheer strength at the point of attack is scary, you can see him on film dominating one-on-one blockers and effectively shutting down the run.
Infiltrating college offensive lines is one thing, though Nixon does this with apparent ease. Whether he can do this in the NFL obviously remains to be seen. Nonetheless, if the Raiders have an opportunity to select Nixon, he’ll certainly be worth the look.
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