The son of two members of the United States Army knows all about discipline and disappointment, as he saw his mother and father deployed overseas multiple times. He fought through those tough times, with the help of other family members and his high school coaches, to have an outstanding prep career in North Carolina, earning national accolades (Maxwell Award as nation’s top offensive lineman) and scholarship offers from the best programs in the country. Few top recruits were more deserving of their U.S. Army All-American Bowl appearance.
Nixon’s career as a Gator got off to a great start, as he played 10 games as a true freshman, stepping in as the starter at left tackle (the strong side with lefty Tim Tebow leading the offense) on a 13-1 team for the last five contests. But he didn’t maintain the starting job to start his sophomore year, eventually starting eight midseason games (seven at right tackle, one at left) while playing in 12. Nixon again was a part-time starter in 2011, starting nine times at left tackle in 13 games played while Florida coaches changed the lineup regularly to find the right combination up front. Early in his senior season, Nixon shut out first-team All-American Damontre Moore, but his inconsistent tendencies reared up over the course of the season. He has the length and athleticism to be a starting tackle in the NFL, but mental lapses, an inability to maintain weight, and generally inconsistent play will likely keep him waiting until the late rounds to be drafted.
Presents a long, athletic build, and when balanced, he can utilize that length and his lateral agility to maintain distance with edge rushers. Anchors against bull rushes fairly well considering athletic build. Also get leverage and movement on run plays by dropping his hips, extending his arms, and churning his legs to push him man backwards a couple of yards. Had excellent moments as a pass protector against great defensive linemen in the SEC. Athleticism to get to the second level and track moving targets. Flashes the ability to get out in front of off-tackle runs, and his long arms can knock aside oncoming defenders even if he’s not mirroring them.
Gets in trouble relying too much on his reach, however, and not moving his feet to cut off the corner and inside lane in pass protection. Known for whiffing on his strong punch against better players, and is also apt to lean into his man, opening the door for better opponents to rip down and get free of his grasp. Length is negated by lack of technique. Gets off the ball late at times. His height and sometimes lumbering gait also makes him susceptible to quickness moves from defenders to shed, even after he makes contact. Will give up on plays after initial contact is made. Soft build and has struggled to maintain weight. Has shuffled in and out of the lineup over his career due to injuries and inconsistency.
Nixon was a high school All-American and has started at least five games every year he’s been in Gainesville, He has always had the length and the athleticism to be a starting tackle in the NFL. Consistency has always been a major issue for Nixon, and his senior campaign was no different. He didn’t vastly improve from a technique standpoint, and doesn’t fully utilize his length, athleticism, and surprising strength. A team will likely take a gamble on him in the late rounds, hoping to light a fire under him and get the most out of his potential.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.