In the coming weeks, we will be going position-by-position and previewing this year’s draft class. Before we get into the reports though, it’s important that we explain how our grading scale works. As a scouting staff, we use common terminology to grade every trait that we evaluate. We use a 1-9 scale with a 1 representing a “Reject” grade and a 9 meaning a “Rare” grade for whatever trait we are evaluating. We spend a lot of time in our internal Scout School making sure that our scales are calibrated with one another, and this common scale and set of language is a key aspect to ensuring that our evaluations are consistent (that…and cross-checks).

Additionally, for each position in the book, there are positional grading scales. As opposed to grading traits, these scales apply to stacking the final grades for each prospect.

The final defensive tackle scale is as follows:

9.0 – 7.0High-end 3 down starter. Pro Bowl level.
6.9 – 6.7Strong starter who plays on all 3 downs.
6.6-6.5Lower-end starter. 2 down player or plus pass rusher.
6.2Versatile backup with positional flexibility.
6.1 – 6.0Developmental. Top traits but needs time.
5.9Top backup. 3 down, 1 position player.
5.8Role playing backup. Base or 3rd down role.
5.7Low-end backup.

For this preview, we will look at Iowa DT Daviyon Nixon

Daviyon Nixon: DT 2 of 15  | Final Grade: 6.7

Report by Nathan Cooper

One Liner

Nixon has the explosion, strength, and shed ability to be an effective three-down starter in the NFL, though his  lack of COD ability, agility, and stamina may keep him from hitting his potential.


Daviyon Nixon primarily one-gaps in a 1- through 3-technique for Iowa’s 3-3-5/4-2-5 defense. After playing his freshman season at Iowa Western CC, he started 9 of 21 games the past two seasons for the Hawkeyes. He has a big, strong frame with very good size for the position. He’s athletic and competes with toughness nearly every down. Although he rarely exits the game and plays with a high motor, he does lack some stamina as the game goes on.

Run Game

Against the run, Nixon is strong and explosive. Off the line, he shows good first step explosion and length, something he visibly improved from 2019 to 2020. He plays with good strength at the POA and also possesses lateral strength and mobility to get down the line of scrimmage. He uses heavy hands to gain leverage and extension on blockers to stack before shedding to get to the ball carrier. He also possesses a strong, quick punch into the chest of offensive linemen. He has the smarts and intelligence to read the offensive line and find where the ball carrier is headed on most occasions. He then shows the quickness to knife through gaps to get into the backfield, but lacks some agility to change directions with ease. When up against doubles, Nixon has the strength to neutralize most of them and rarely gets pushed off the line. When he gets to the ball carrier, he will slip off of some tackles and lose out on some opportunities. However, when he makes the tackle, he delivers a blow to the rusher.

Pass Game

In the pass game, Nixon shows good pass rush ability. His explosion off the line allows him to get a step on blockers. He mainly uses bull and rip moves to get into the backfield, but will also swim and push-pull. He tries to use finesse moves more than power, though he seems to be more effective when using his strength to battle blockers and get to the quarterback. When hit from all angles, he still has the strength and body control to keep his base and plane getting to the backfield. He’s been productive getting to the quarterback and producing sacks, but also gets pressures by way of hurries, hits, and knockdowns. He shows flashes of mismatch ability and should be accounted for when he’s on the field.

Last Word

Nixon projects as a starting 3-technique in a 4-3 base defense with mainly one-gap responsibilities. Though he has room for improvement in his game, he has the skill set against both the run and pass to play on all three downs at the next level. On 3rd down, he fits best as a one-gapper who can line up at either 3- or 1-tech where he can use his explosion and strength to get a push into the pocket.

Plays with good extension & leverageCan struggle to change direction
Strong at POASlips off some tackles
Ability to stack and shedLoses stamina as game progresses

Critical Factors

1st Step Explosion6
Play Strength6
Pass Rush6

Positional Factors

Shed Ability6
Hand Use6
Body Control6


TacklingPass Rush


YearBroken TacklesBT%Tackle ShareATD+Pres%Pres ShareHolds DrawnEPA on TFLEPA on Sacks

Deep Dive

Lined UpPass RushWhen Run AtTotal PointsTotal Points Rtg
YearNT%DT%DE%Sack%True Pres%Bnc%Pos%Run DefPass RushTotalPer
Per PRPer

Sports Info Solutions (SIS) brings you the third annual edition of The SIS Football Rookie Handbook, with scouting reports and statistical breakdowns on over 300 college football players who are likely to be drafted or signed as rookie free agents in 2021 (a glossary for the below stats can be found here). The book also includes unique and informative NFL team pages, research deep-dives by the SIS R&D team, articles on key football subjects (including injuries), and the NCAA version of their flagship football statistic, Total Points.