Senior Bowl Prospect Profile: Anthony Dixon

MOBILE-It’s tough not to like Mississippi State running back Anthony Dixon.

Not just because he’s a friendly, easy to talk to guy off the football field who seems to always be smiling, but because of the person he becomes when he’s inside of the white lines.

To put it simply, the guy resembles a freight train.

Dixon measured in at a height of 6006 during Monday’s Senior Bowl weigh-ins and was a rock-solid 245 pounds with an extremely well-built lower half, which allows him to consistently break tackles at the line of scrimmage-something that came in very handy during his senior season at Mississippi State.

Despite running behind an undermanned offensive line in the country’s toughest conference (SEC), Dixon rushed for 1,391 yards and 12 touchdowns in just 11 games this season. His 1,391 rushing yards ranked 15th in the FBS and second in the SEC, behind only Alabama running back and Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram.

In four years at Mississippi State, Dixon rushed for 3,994 yards and 42 touchdowns, while averaging an impressive 5.4 yards per carry during his 2009 campaign.

“There’s a few things I’d like to improve,” Dixon told Wes Bunting and me on Monday night. “I need to get better at watching tape. But I’m just trying to improve as a player and am willing to do whatever the coaches ask me to do.”

Which may include spending a little time at the fullback position.

Dixon, one of five running backs on the South roster (Roy Upchurch, Stafon Johnson, Ben Tate and John Conner are the other four), has been asked to show his versatility this week, as he told us on Monday night that the South coaching staff is trying him out at fullback.

“Yeah, the coaches had me working at fullback today. I think I can play running back in the NFL, but I just want to be a team player. I’ve got no problems playing fullback.”

The people who may have a problem with him playing fullback are the guys assigned with the task of trying to bring Dixon to the ground.

Check out NFP Director of College Scouting Wes Bunting’s 2010 scouting report on Anthony Dixon:

Anthony Dixon: No. 24, RB, 6006, 245

Dixon displays good footwork and balance for a back his size. Does a nice job picking his way through the line of scrimmage. He’s patient through the hole and has the lateral mobility to reach the cutback lane and square his shoulders into the open field. Possesses a strong lower body and seemingly always drives his legs through contact. Consistently is able to step through would-be tacklers at the line of scrimmage. Possesses the short-area quickness to make a man miss behind the line and create on his own play. He doesn’t display an elite burst to his game, but he plays a lot faster than given credit for. He has the ability to shed a tackle and reach top-end speed quickly. But he lacks a second gear to his game and isn’t a big-play threat at the second level. Possesses a strong base and displays the ability to drop his pad level in pass protection and jar a defender on contact. Looks natural in the receiving game. Adjusts quickly to the football and displays the wiggle to make a man miss in the open field. Is a physical, instinctive runner who displays impressive lateral ability for his size. Looks like a guy who could become a team’s featured running back.

Grade: 6.8…Becomes a starter during his rookie year… Becomes a solid NFL player who has no real weakness… Can’t be exploited or consistently taken out of games.

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