An unheralded signing this offseason was defensive back Keisean Nixon. Coming over from the Raiders, Nixon signed a 1 year deal in March. Initially thought of as a core special teams signing, Nixon is positioned to contribute significantly on defense as the dime corner. The combination of special teams and defensive support is a critical combination the Packers need from Nixon in 2022.
Clearly, the initial appeal of Keisean is his special teams prowess. He is extremely familiar with what new special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia wants, having played for him the past three years in Las Vegas. While with the Raiders, Nixon was a key special teamer, playing over 50% of special team snaps each year. It’s notable that the Packers immediately targeted Nixon as a player to bring in this year as they rebuild their special teams from the ground up. Having a player who knows Bisaccia’s scheme and designs will help bring all the other players up to speed.
While Nixon’s fastest way to a roster spot is special teams, it isn’t the only place he can contribute. While he has had limited snaps on defense, he has also shown some ability there. In 2021, he had allowed a respectable 76.4 passer rating while in coverage. More importantly, he played the majority of his limited snaps in the slot, a position that the Packers are looking for depth and talent. Each year he’s shown more growth at the position and has skills to be honed by the Packers coaches.
While the first three cornerback spots are locked down, Nixon could be looking at just a two player race for the 4th corner position with second year player Shemar Jean-Charles. The combination of Nixon’s experience on special teams with the upside on defense gives him a decided advantage in the competition. Over the course the offseason, the two players will be undoubtedly push each other for snaps. Training camp and preseason will be telling for the future of both players.
The Packers need a player to step up and solidify their depth chart at cornerback. Keisean Nixon is that player. He will not only solidify the backend to the cornerback room but provide a cornerstone piece to a reconstructed special teams unit in 2022.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.