By Kip Earlywine
40 time: 4.65
- Great size and strength
- Ideal build/frame
- Good athleticism
- Tough inside runner
- Very physical. Plays with attitude and fierceness
- Deceptively good top gear when he reaches it
- Decent vision
- Decent cut making ability
- Decent short area burst
- Workhorse capability in an emergency
- Relatively elusive for his size
- Surprisingly valuable as a receiver
- Highly experienced
- Great senior season, 46 career TDs
- Molasses-slow first gear
- Reaches top speed only when running straight downfield
- Inconsistent, struggles vs. elite competition
- Poor pass blocking technique
Anthony Dixon makes a good case for being the best short yardage specialist in the 2010 draft. He's probably the most physical and powerful RB prospect, if nothing else. He makes for a very solid fit in a zone scheme as a power running back. Its my vague understanding that Gibbs has tended to avoid "roles" with his RBs, instead just stockpiling the best group possible with mid to late round picks. However, Seattle's current roster does not have a big running back or a short yardage guy, and they could certainly use that type of tool in their offense.
As much as I'm sure most fans would like to move on from Julius Jones, that won't really be possible until the team adds a running back who can cover 250+ carries if an injury ever happens. Forsett might be able to do it, but it would be unwise to burden such a small running back who is so valuable by exposing him to a high injury risk. Jahvid Best, CJ Spiller, and Joe McKnight are all unreliable as 250+ carry guys as well. Even Montario Hardesty, who had nearly 300 touches this last year, is a risk to rely on because of his injuries.
Dixon's ability to carry the ball 250+ times in a pinch and stay healthy doing it is more than a minor asset, and it allows the team to upgrade over Julius Jones if they so choose. That said, I don't see Dixon carrying the ball more than 100-150 times with Seattle unless he is either surprisingly awesome or injuries around him raises the workload. I think he'll be more of a specialist in a running back committee than a traditional feature back.
For as slow as Dixon looks in first gear, I found myself surprisingly impressed with what he offers. Inside rushing is at a premium for Alex Gibbs, and Dixon is a rock solid inside rusher. Dixon is relatively quick footed for a 233 pound man. His cut making, vision, and short area burst are not amazing, but they are good enough to satisfy a pure zone scheme. He's strong and plays with a chip on his shoulder. Dixon is even surprisingly productive as a receiver, and having an extra dimension always helps for a specialist so as to not tip off a defense.
Dixon's first gear is very slow, but his top speed is surprisingly good. His 4.65 forty time masks the faint presence of a very weak 3rd gear, but to have a 3rd gear at all at 233 pounds is pretty impressive. Its very difficult for Dixon to reach that speed, but when he does, he actually pulls away from most college defenders.
If you want a power running back for zone, Dixon looks the part.
Expect him to be drafted in... Rounds 3-4