Prospect: Xavier Nixon, OT, FloridaXavier Nixon

Height: 6’5½”

Weight: 321 lb.

Athleticism:

  • Fluid and flexible body type, plays with proper knee bend and can stay balanced
  • Thick frame throughout with go
    od weight distribution, textbook height/weight combination
  • Carries weight well enough to be effective as an open field blocker, stamina issues show up in some games though
  • Quick first step off the ball to either get depth in pass protection or downfield quickly as a run blocker
  • Foot quickness not always up to the speed of his upper body movements, heavy feet hold back movement ability in general
  • Dominant power generated from his arms and hands, jolts defenders with punches

Intelligence/Effort:

  • High experience level with 33 career starts at Florida including time at left and right tackle
  • Very prevalent nastiness to him in the running game, plays with a bully’s mentality
  • Not always a to-the-whistle player, will quit early on plays occasionally when he sees fit, got burned doing so a few times
  • Worrying tendency to give up his inside gap, has mental lapses too often responsibility-wise

Pass Blocking:

  • Incredibly stout anchor, absorbs initial power rush attempts and resets his feet with ease
  • Keeps his base while taking punches from pass rushers gives repeated blows right back
  • Rarely beaten around the corner, can get depth quickly in his kickslide
  • Has a tendency to overset and expose his inside gap to speed rushers, doesn’t have nimble enough feet to redirect and close it off
  • Drops his eyes and misses blitzing linebackers that delay their rushes
  • Has a natural feel for multiple rushers around him and is decisive giving help

Run Blocking:

  • Too often settles for giving a strong initial punch before recoiling instead of locking on and driving his legs, allows defenders to shed more easily
  • Will lunge into contact occasionally, part of aim to win on initial contact instead of driving through defenders
  • Finishes blocks well by driving defenders into the ground, doesn’t settle often
  • Does a relatively poor job in goal line or short yardage situations, will stop his feet after first contact
  • Adept pulling out into space, keeps his head on a swivel, stays patient, runs to precise spots

Technique:

  • Gets hurried occasionally and gets sloppy with his footwork, even tripped himself up crossing his feet at times
  • Lets his base get too narrow at times, struggles to sustain blocks as a result
  • Inconsistent hand placement, has upper body strength to control defenders at the point of attack if he can land his hands properly
  • Very heavy and active hands, doesn’t lose hand battles often and can keep his frame clean
  • Drops his pads naturally and consistently plays with great pad leverage both as a run and pass blocker

Overall:

Xavier Nixon is really up-and-down from snap to snap and game to game.  His biggest issues are consistency and technique, which is easy to spot with him.  Even so, he put in pretty good performances against the likes of Jadeveon Clowney, Damontre Moore, Jarvis Jones, and Tank Carradine as a senior.  Nixon is the type of tackle who strings together a few drives of spotless play before a mental lapse sees him let a pass rusher comes almost unblocked for a sack.  He has almost everything you can ask for physically from an offensive tackle though.  His size and strength are more than adequate and his feet are efficient enough for the job.  His game just needs some polish and further development.  Nixon missed two games due to injury as a senior and didn’t work out at the combine, so there are health concerns to take note of.  Teams shouldn’t and surely won’t expect him to come in and contribute as a starter on day one.  Nixon will benefit from time behind some veteran pass blockers to develop his technique and refine his skills.  The potential for him is sky high, and if he ever puts it together he has the skills to be one of the league’s best bookend tackles.  Nixon’s deficiencies are impossible to overlook as a draft prospect though, which will likely see him pushed out of the third and into the fourth round.

Originally published at DetroitLionsDraft.com: Xavier Nixon Scouting Report

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