For the last several years, when we got down to 54 days remaining before the Panthers’ regular season kickoff, we always shone a spotlight on linebacker Shaq Thompson who donned that number. Since he changed to No. 7, this piece will instead focus on on the newly minted No. 54 on the Panthers roster — defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon.
The Panthers drafted the 23-year-old Nixon (6’3, 305) in the fifth round (No. 158 overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft. After showing some promise early in his rookie season, he eventually ended up on injured reserve, and later on the reserve/COVID-19 list to end the season. The Panthers are hoping he becomes a late round steal after inexplicably falling to the fifth round of the draft. With the departure of DaQuan Jones in free agency, Nixon could see more time next to Derrick Brown in the middle of the Panthers defensive line this season.
In college, Nixon spent two seasons at Iowa, where he was a consensus All-American and Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. I’ll say that again: Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year...as a defensive tackle. Let’s hope Daviyon can stay healthier this season so we can really see what he is capable of.
What do you expect from the second-year tackle this year Panthers fans? Will he flame out or make the Pro Bowl? Somewhere in between? Sound off in the comments!