Going into training camp the odds were stacked against rookie Keisean Nixon. He was one of several Raiders who went undrafted but finds themselves on the brink of possibly making the team.
If you’ve followed throughout the preseason it’s easy to see why he is deserving. His preseason so far earned himself the BD Williams film breakdown. In the week two preseason game versus the Cardinals, Nixon led the team in tackles. He raised the bar last week against the Packers with his most impressive performance to date and landing him as Levi Damien’s Top Baller. He recorded one official pass break up but his sticky coverage resulted in multiple incomplete passes.
Nixon is especially strong in man-to-man coverage. He is fundamentally sound and his technique is very good. He’s giving his head coach a lot to consider when making roster decisions.
“Well, if you’ve studied the film, you’ll see what we see,” said Jon Gruden. “He’s made more plays than any of our corners. He’s playing extremely well. He’s confident. I mean, he’s had a lot of ball production and he’s also been a factor on special teams, so we are really pleased with Nixon.”
Catching the attention of the coach and having him praise you in press conferences is a great sign but Nixon knows he still has work to do.
“Keep working,” Nixon said when asked if had heard the comments of his head coach. “You can make plays but that don’t guarantee you a spot at the end of the day. Just do what they tell you to do, the little stuff that matters more.”
Having played for the South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC, Nixon is no stranger to high level competition. He credits having confidence in his ability to having the experience of playing against elite talent since he was a young kid.
“Since I was little,” said Nixon. “Grew up playing against top dudes like JuJu Smith-Schuster and John Ross, grew up playing dudes like that so the competition level has always been there. So it’s just a matter of getting a feel and then just playing football like you have since you were little.”
Like his fellow undrafted teammate, Keelan Doss, who is also playing himself onto the Raiders roster, he is a native of California. Which means making the Raiders roster that much sweeter.
“I really chose to be here from just the coaching staff and I’m from California, so it’s not far for me. So making the 53 is big.”