Penn State NFL draft prospect stock watch: Johnny Dixon

The NFL draft for many college prospects is often about timing, not just their play on the field. There are countless examples of a player who breaks out in their final season and gets over-drafted, or players having a disappointing final season and falling too far for how talented they are. NFL teams are prone to recency bias just as much as fans and media are at times.

Penn State’s Johnny Dixon seems to be a case of falling victim to bad timing. He had some hype building as the Senior Bowl approached, but he had mediocre practice film before being knocked out by an injury. He has been out ever since, unable to work out at both the combine and Penn State’s pro day.

You would hope that his injury isn’t being held against him, but it’s really easy for a late-round pick to get lost in the shuffle if he can’t compete against his peers. Not having testing numbers is also a disappointment, but he did show off his speed in his limited time at the Senior Bowl.


The bottom line for Dixon is that he is at risk of getting forgotten in a deep and talented defensive back group this year. Based on the data from NFL Mock Draft Database, many draft analysts already are sliding him down their rankings. Maybe NFL teams are higher on him than the media is, or at the very least haven’t soured on him just because of his injury.

Regardless, Dixon will need to be prepared to make a team as a later pick. That means being a good special teamer and being able to quickly pick up whatever defense he is drafted into. Being willing to move to the slot may also help him with his lack of size. He didn’t play there much in college but I believe he can make it work.

Dixon may end up as an afterthought in the 2024 draft due to his injury, but he should still be selected at some point on day 3. It will be on him from there to make teams regret allowing him to fall.

Stock: Down

Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire