by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics.
The NFL Draft talk never ends, and we are here at Draft 412 in an effort to keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars. From today until draft night 2024, we will bring you mocks, profiles, team needs, and everything else related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Penn State, Cornerback, Johnny Dixon
Name- Johnny Dixon
Team- Penn State
HT/WT- 6’0” 191 lbs.
Home – Tampa, FL
Johnny Dixon played high school football for Chamberlain High School in Tampa Bay, FL, where he started on the varsity squad all four years and was ranked as the 51st best prospect in Florida coming out of his senior year. Dixon chose South Carolina to start his collegiate career.
In 2019, Dixon played in 3 games and had an interception before he got redshirted by the Gamecocks. In 2020 as a redshirt freshman, he started 8 games for South Carolina and had 34 tackles and 5 pass breakups before entering the transfer portal and landing at Penn State in 2021. In 2021, he played sparingly for the Nittany Lions in 12 games and finished the season with 10 tackles and 2 pass breakups.
However, 2022 was a breakout year for Dixon as he started 13 games, recording 23 tackles, 2 interceptions, 3 sacks, and a forced fumble. He was selected honorable mention All-Big Ten by the media.
Dixon has grown into a playmaker for Penn State. He is a strong blitzer from the corner position, leading to 3 sacks last season. As for his pass coverage, his fluid hips help him mirror receivers on quick slants well. He plays with strong instincts and has shown to have reliable hands, thriving in zone defenses.
Dixon at times pays the price for his aggressiveness, tending to overplay pump fakes and can be beaten on double moves. As a run defender, he is adequate but is not physical enough to beat a blocker one-on-one. Footwork for Dixon needs to be improved coming out of his backpedal.
Draft 412 sees a mirror image of Philadelphia Eagles cornerback, Darius Slay, while watching Dixon. Both on the smaller side but both always seem to be around the ball with similar playmaking abilities.
Mechanics and footwork
Over aggressive at times
Trouble with man-to-man
Penn State has two more cornerbacks who should get drafted in the top 3-4 rounds in the 2024 draft (Dixon and Kalen King), a year after watching Joey Porter Jr., go off the board to the Pittsburgh Steelers in round two last April. The Nittany Lions' secondary should be one of the country's best, and Dixon has to be a name to watch out for.
Prediction- 3rd-4th Round.