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Carolina Panthers Tap BYU Pipeline by Signing LB David Nixon - Fan's Analysis

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The Carolina Panthers have tapped the BYU pipeline again this summer in adding depth to the roster.

After nabbing the unexpectedly undrafted offensive lineman Matt Reynolds (my analysis of Reynolds here), Carolina has now signed free agent linebacker and former Brigham Young standout David Nixon.

Nixon will add flexibility to the already stacked Carolina linebacker corps which features Jon Beason, Thomas Davis, James Anderson, and first round selection Luke Keuchly.

Professional Career

In three NFL seasons David Nixon has appeared in 15 games, recording 16 tackles and forcing two fumbles.

Nixon went undrafted in 2009 and was signed to the Oakland Raiders' practice squad. He was moved from the practice squad to the active roster on November 21st, 2009 and appeared in three games with the Raiders as a rookie, primarily on special teams.

In 2010 Nixon was claimed off waivers by the Houston Texans where he recorded 10 tackles in three games. He was waived mid-season by Houston and signed by the St. Louis Rams.

In 2010 and 2011 with the Rams Nixon appeared in a total of nine games and recorded six tackles before being released on March 12, 2012.

College Career at BYU

As a freshman at Brigham Young University in 2003 Nixon appeared in 12 games (starting two) and notched 57 tackles. He then served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Quito, Ecuador.

After returning from his mission David Nixon became a fixture at BYU on solid teams that finished with BCS rankings of #20 (2006), #17 (2007), and #16 (2008).

In his senior season in 2008 Nixon was named to the All-Mountain West Conference second team and was a team captain at BYU. His 90 tackles as a senior were second on the team and his career 43 tackles for a loss set a new MWC record.

He finished his BYU career with 275 tackles, 12 sacks, and three interceptions.

As a true student-athlete, David Nixon earned Academic All-MWC honors as a sophomore, junior, and senior.

David Nixon's Fit in Carolina

While the Panthers defense has a number of gaps in the secondary and defensive line, the linebacker corps is one of the strongest in the NFL.

Jon Beason is a three-time Pro Bowler. Thomas Davis and James Anderson have each had seasons of 110+ tackles. 2012 first round pick Luke Kuechly is expected to start and is getting a lot of buzz as the potential Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Don't expect David Nixon to get significant playing time on a loaded Panthers roster.

But NFL teams can never have too much depth, and David Nixon will give Carolina more flexibility as they implement some 3-4 looks to supplement their base 4-3 scheme.

With a strong Cam Newton-led offense the Panthers are expected to score a lot in 2012, but the team needs to improve upon its 27th-ranked defense, which gave up 26.8 PPG in 2011.

Former BYU Cougar David Nixon will now do his part in shoring up the defense.

Sources: BYUCougars.com, Raiders.com

Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Panthers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check these out articles:

10 Keys for the Carolina Panthers Winning 10 Games in 2012

Compiling the 2012 Panthers Draft Grades Into One Easy-to-Use Reference

World's Most Dangerous Job: DT, Carolina Panthers

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