The wiggle: some players have it and some players don’t. Runners like LeSean McCoy, Gio Bernard, Barry Sanders and LaDanian Tomlinson have it in spades. Kenneth Dixon is one of those players with wiggle coming out of his ears. He will juke you out of your cleats and break off a big run while you lay on the ground in defeat. It’s a skill you can’t teach, that’s fueled by athleticism yet not forged by it. While the NFL moves ever more towards running back committees, Dixon will be a player who can capitalize on this trend.
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
He hit the ground running in his freshman year at Louisiana Tech. In 2012, Dixon led all of college football with 27 rushing touchdowns while managing a six yards per carry rate. Impressive for a freshman and a solid start to anyone’s career. Dixon dealt with a knee injury in 2013 as a sophomore and managed only four touchdowns, but still bested his previous yards per carry. As a junior he added another 22 touchdowns rushing and six in the air. Potentially the move to a better conference hurt his averages, but five yards per is a healthy rate for a college rusher. During his final year he posted a very respectable five and a half yards per carry and added 26 more combined touchdowns. For a few weeks in 2015, he was the college football all-time leading touchdown scorer and ended his career in second place on the all-time charts at 88 total touchdowns, clearly he has a special nose for the endzone. Dixon also nearly hit the thousand yard mark in every season, and in his junior year he began to be used as a complete weapon in the pass game, catching around 30 balls in each season. His ability to make people miss and shed tacklers is expressed in that he averaged more yards per carry after he was contacted than before. Most backs are very much the opposite.
Dixon is a complete college back. He will make something out of nothing for your team, score you points, and be efficient even when you need those points through the air. The big question is can he transition to the NFL. Let’s take a look at his metrics and film to attempt to find out.
Metric spider chart for Kenneth Dixon courtesy of MockDraftable.com:
Clearly not a crazy BMI prospect, he’s a bit short for a typical running back, but shows average weight, arm length and hand size. These are good attributes to keep in mind while he transitions, having a 66th percentile hand size is going to allow him to really keep better control on the ball and helps allude to his incredibly soft hands in the passing game. He had 13 fumbles in his last three season, a number which isn’t surprising with his running style, but with his hand size it’s easily controllable. Dixon shows above average ranks the broad jump, three cone, and 60 yard shuttle, with very above average vertical jump metrics. We will talk about it later, but his burst is his money maker and these metrics play into showcasing it.
Dixon stumbles a bit when looking at his strength and 40 times. These metrics aren’t surprising to me in the least. He isn’t a blazing speed guy and will never power through defenders, as much as he tries to, he makes his money with his quickness and a 1.56 10 yard split helps allude to this ability.
Another great metric resource is PlayerProfiler.com. Let’s jump over to Kenneth Dixon from there.
Dixon was a monster in college right out of the gate which is expressed in his 95th percentile breakout age. This metric is closely related to the college dominator rating and Dixon is again at the top of players in this database at 90th percentile. This is a rating of how much of the teams production came through a player. When a guy is putting up college football leading touchdowns you know he’s going to be a major producer for his team. Other metrics considered, he is average across the board in relation to past prospects. This will be the tale of Kenneth Dixon – he isn’t a wild athlete but has things which go beyond speed and size.
As noted before you can see how he is 77th percentile in burst score. This is key for looking at Dixon at the next level. This is shown time and time again in his film, which is below.
I chose the Oklahoma game here to take a look at his film. He didn’t have an amazing game playing the at-the-time #4 Sooners, but he showed exactly what he can do even on a bad day. You can also watch this game vs Arkansas St where Dixon puts on a clinic, scoring four total touchdowns, two in the air and two on the ground. Your choice. I tend to lean towards watching college players when they face tough competition. This way you get a look at them vs as close as you can to NFL talent. This also can skew things a bit when the player’s surrounding team isn’t very good, as is the case with Dixon and LA Tech. However, he shows flashes of crazy elusiveness, breaking tackles, juking hard, making people look bad and just being a problem to deal with. He only totaled 40 yards, mostly coming on two plays, but it’s not about the stat sheet when watching film. He also caught three receptions and it’s clear he is a force to be reckoned with in space which a pass can create.
While you can go to the AK state game to see what he will do against subpar defenses. He runs like a mad man and while it does open him up to injuries, he is relatively unscathed in his career. He won’t shy from contact and he will fight, tooth and nail, for an extra yard. I can’t tell if he seeks out contact or if it’s just constantly in his face, but he will barrel right into almost anyone.
DLF writer Austan Kas, expressed Dixon’s love for contact and his love for Dixon in a great 20/20 series article.
He does struggle at times to get through holes (when they exist) and his prowess is never going to be a downhill, one cut runner. His blocking isn’t great, but not much can be expected from a rookie back.
I love this kid. He knows how to do his job and get to the promised land. We asked if Dixon is going to able to transition to the NFL after spending a lot of time in college, both in the endzone, but also getting crushed behind the line. I want to say 100% yes he will, but I don’t think he is destined for an immediate role as a three down back. He can be a very scary third down guy who can spell a lead back for a series or two, but he isn’t going to be a workhorse out of the gate. There is potential for him to be a great one-two punch with a better home run hitter back to compliment his six tough yard slash mentality.
I see a lot of CJ Spiller without the top end speed but he has the ability to make things out of nothing. He will need to learn what having a NFL caliber line will be like and how sometimes you need to follow the play and not bounce it around. Easily a third or fourth round back, if he goes to the right team, in the age of PPR he can be a great asset for owners. He is fun to watch though and hopefully some team will see his ability and get blown away as well.
- 2023 NFL Scouting Combine: Defensive Player Dynasty Review - March 13, 2023
- 2022 NFL Scouting Combine: IDP Dynasty Review - March 10, 2022
- 2021 Post-Draft Superflex and Integrated IDP Rookie Mock - May 14, 2021
Nice write up. I like your choice for game tape. It’s makes a guy wonder what a player like Dixon could do with some talent around him. That might have been the absolute worst QB in the history of football at any level.
kid can block, high football IQ…..i agree he does look like Spiller but runs a little harder, good route runner. You would have to take this guy at the back end of the 1st round in my rookie drafts even if he is ranked in the teens on most draft boards. I’m thinking as high as 7-10 overall if that was the only pick you had under #15. My prediction in no particular order you will see the 2 top RB in Zeke and Henry and the top 4 WR Treadwell, Boyd, Doctson, Coleman. After that i think Fuller, M Thomas, Shepard would start coming off the board, but this is the range I think about reaching on a Dixon or Booker or some other RB. I have #9 overall in a league and i am definitely looking at Dixon there.
I picked him at the third spot in my rookie draft. There’s no comparison between the players surrounding Elliot and the players surrounding Dixon in college. To me, I see shades of J.Charles and L.Bell with how he can shift and make guys miss while still running north. I wouldn’t expect him to be available at pick 9, but hey he went in the 4th round of the NFL draft so what the hell do I know…