The Green Bay Packers signed Keisean Nixon to help fix the league’s worst special teams unit and provide some depth on defense.
That didn’t necessarily mean as a returner, but once Nixon got an opportunity in that role, he never looked back.
Nixon had played under Rich Bisaccia with the Las Vegas Raiders, so it made sense to sign him after Bisaccia was hired by the Packers.
The result? Nixon was named a first-team All-Pro this season, helping turn things around on special teams.
No player had more kick return yards than Nixon this year — he had 1,009. Nixon ranked second in kick return average, averaging 28.8 yards per return.
His best return was a 105-yard touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings, and he also had a 93-yard return against the Miami Dolphins.
Nixon quickly made kick returns a major strength for the Packers’ special teams unit. He had the ability to make a game-changing play any time he returned a kick.
But he also contributed on defense as a backup cornerback.
According to Pro Football Reference, Nixon allowed a quarterback rating of 85.7 in his coverage. He defended two passes and made one interception, and he also forced a fumble.
Nixon proved he can step in when needed on defense and contribute. He can play various roles on special teams, including returning kicks, of course.
Nixon is a free agent this offseason, but the Packers need to make re-signing him a priority.
It’s hard to find returners who can change a game like Nixon. And for all the work he can do not only on special teams, but also defense, the Packers need to ensure he’s back in 2023.
The Packers rewarded De’Vondre Campbell with an extension after an All-Pro year in 2021. After an All-Pro season, Keisean Nixon deserves a new deal in Green Bay