Daviyon Nixon selected by Carolina Panthers in fifth round
Nixon picked one spot behind former Iowa receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette
IOWA CITY, Iowa – It took longer than many probably had expected, but former Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon finally heard his name selected in the NFL Draft.
Once considered possibly a mid- first-round pick, Nixon oddly enough lasted until the fifth round when the Carolina Panthers selected him on Saturday, and with the 158th pick overall.
The 6-foot-3, 313-pound defensive tackle from Kenosha, Wis., is the 78th Hawkeye to be selected in the NFL draft under Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz dating back to 2000.
Nixon is also the third Hawkeye to be selected in this year’s draft as defensive end Chauncey Golston was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round on Friday, while receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the fifth round on Saturday.
Smith-Marsette, who also returned kicks in college, was picked on spot ahead of Nixon in the fifth round, and with the 157th pick overall.
Nixon attended Iowa Western Community College as a true freshman in 2017, redshirted at Iowa in 2018, played as a reserve at Iowa in 2019 and then become a starter, and a disruptive force as a junior this past season.
Nixon at one point was considered perhaps to be a first-round pick as veteran draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had him going in the first round.
But Kiper later changed his opinion, saying Nixon’s lack of experience and consistency with technique were concerns.
Consistency certainly wasn’t a problem for Nixon this past season as he dominated in the trenches, using his combination of strength and speed to make plays.
Nixon led the Big Ten and ranked 13th nationally with 13 tackles for loss, and was fourth in the conference with 5.5 sacks.
He also ranked first among Big Ten defensive linemen in total tackles with 45 in eight games.
Nixon had a knack for making big plays, and perhaps his biggest play, or at least the most memorable, was his 71-yard interception against Penn State in which he deflected a pass before catching the ball, and then used a Euro step to elude a tackler.
Nixon should have plenty of motivation after lasting this long in the seven-round draft.
And while it’s uncertain why his stock has dropped, all it takes is one team to like you, and Carolina is that team for Nixon.