21 Days to the Draft: Mississippi State RB, Anthony Dixon

With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.

With our running back committee getting older and older, it's clear that we need to inject some youth into our system. Mississippi State's Anthony Dixon is a player who could generate interest. He's a big back at 6-1, 233 lbs, which means he could fill the role of "Laurence Maroney's compliment" that we've all been waiting for. Dixon can get the short yardage and can catch out of the back field. He can break tackles in the pile and can fight for extra distance. However, he's slow. He's 4.6 slow. He won't be running away from anyone- but if we want him as our short yardage back, he won't have to. Dixon won't be a #1 back, nor will he be anything more than a role player. Is that role on the Patriots?

His measurements and some quotes after the jump.

WalterFootball.com Scouting

Height: 6-1. Weight: 233.
Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
Combine 40 Time: 4.65.
Pro Day 40 Time: 4.61.
Benchx225: 15. Vertical: 40. Broad: 10-1.

1/16/10: Finished with 1,391 yards and 12 touchdowns on a 5.4 average. Also had 18 catches for 123 more yards.

CBSSports.com Scouting

03/01/2010 - The times get the headlines, but watching a player run his 40 can be interesting in itself. Mississippi State's Anthony Dixon, who is a power back like Blount that does not require track speed to be effective, didn't light up the combine with times in the mid-4.6s. However, his effort during the run was very reminiscent of that given on every carry for the Bulldogs. Hopefully for him, teams noticed it while they waited to click the stop button on their stopwatch. - Chad Reuter, The Sports Xchange, NFLDraftScout.com

12/21/2009 - SENIOR BOWL INVITE: Mississippi State running back Anthony Dixon will play in Senior Bowl on Jan. 30 in Mobile, Ala. Dixon rushed for 1,391 yards this season to lead the Southeastern Conference. A first team All-SEC selection, Dixon had eight 100-yard rushing games this season. His 252 yards rushing against Kentucky this year was a career high. He ranks first in the SEC with 126.5 rushing yards per game, which is good enough for sixth in the nation. Dixon is Mississippi State's all-time leading rusher with 3,994 yards. He also owns school records for career attempts (910), rushing touchdowns (42) and single-season rushing yards (1,391 in 2009) and attempts (287 in 2007). He also caught 56 passes for 449 yards and four touchdowns. - AP Sports

NFL.com Scouting

Dixon is a big, powerful back that runs with a good pad level and does a good job of keeping his feet alive to gain yards after contact. He lacks the speed to be a threat out wide or to take many all the way once he gets to the second level but he will move the chains and sustain drives. He can be a bit inconsistent when it comes to blocking but has the ability to deliver a good blow when he wants to. He will likely initially be a short yardage or red zone back that specializes in gaining the tough yards.

Strengths

Dixon is a big, bruising running back who was highly productive against premier competition in college. Displays the necessary power to consistently break tackles. Exhibits impressive balance on contact and is rarely brought down by the first tackler. Shows nice foot agility for a big, power back.
Weaknesses
His top end speed to be a threat on the perimeter or explode for long gainers up the middle is dubious. Must improve his ball security as he’s shown he will put the ball on the ground at times. Struggles getting to the outside.

MockingtheDraft.com Scouting

Final word: Dixon has the makings of being a good power back in a two-back scheme. He just doesn't have the playmaking ability to be a true No. 1 running back. Still, he was very productive on a team where he was really the only weapon. He had eight games of more than 100 yards rushing in 2009 and is good in the red zone.

Some have questioned Dixon's character a little bit because he's never been in the best shape. He was also charged with suspicion of driving under the influence and not having proof of insurance last year.

Still, he shows heart as a runner. He's constantly on the move and keeps his legs pumping while getting tackled. He's also played through some small injuries including a broken finger.

Verdict: No thanks. He is most likely a 3rd or 4th round pick. If he joins our team, he'll be the 6th back. While we have a need for a short yardage back, I don't think Dixon is the right kind of player for our team.

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