The 2016 NFL Draft will take place next week, starting Thursday, April 28 and ending two days later on April 30. Maryland has a few players who will surely be drafted, plus a couple others who could sneak into the late rounds or will at least be fighting for roster spots in training camp. We'll break down all of them.
Anthony Nixon never turned into a star for the Maryland football program, but he was a consistent contributor for four seasons as a starting safety. This spring and summer, he's looking to find a spot in the NFL.
Over four years in College Park, Nixon missed a grand total of two games, both during his sophomore season in 2013. He started five games as a true freshman the year before that, but he played the bulk of Maryland's front-side safety snaps over senior Eric Franklin. His durability was impressive, as was his grip on a position that many college teams find fluid.
No major draft service projects Nixon will be taken. If he is, there's a good chance it's as a seventh-round pick by former Maryland head coach Randy Edsall's Detroit Lions, or something like that. All it takes is one team to be intrigued, but the likeliest outcome for Nixon is that he catches on somewhere as an undrafted free agent. NFL Draft Scout ranks him as the 52nd-best safety in the draft.
2015: 12 games, 55 solo tackles, 4.5 for loss, 27 assists, 3 interceptions, 1 forced fumble
Career: 48 games, 156 solo tackles, 8 for loss, 87 assists, 4 interceptions, 1 forced fumble
40-yard dash: 4.78 seconds
225-pound bench reps: 10
Vertical jump: 31 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet 9 inches
Weight: 201 pounds
(Statistics are unofficial.)
Where Nixon goes from here
Nixon does not have special size, and he's not especially strong or fast. He's demonstrated an aptitude for playing in different schemes and holding up well in the ACC and Big Ten, but he's a very fringy NFL talent. For him to make a 53-man roster would be an enormous achievement. In all likelihood, he'll get an offseason contract from some team, and his goal from there will be to somehow piece together a spot somewhere. It won't be easy.