Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is one of the most talented, and polarizing, players available in the 2017 NFL Draft.
School: Oklahoma Ht: 6-1 Wt: 226
Mixon is young, not turning 21 until July 24. Mixon passes the eye-test, with a muscular frame and powerful legs. He has plus initial burst and lateral agility for a back his size, able to make defenders miss “in a phone booth”. Mixon is a natural with the ball in his hands, showing excellent anticipation, vision and patience to set up his blocks as a running back and returner. Possesses the ability to transfer, to his feet, what is eyes see instantly. He is more powerful and balanced than his tall frame might indicate, lowering his shoulders into would-be tacklers and showing consistent leg drive, forward lean and fight to finish runs.
Mixon is a legit weapon as a receiver, showing in-tune hand-eye coordination to secure the ball without losing speed and is an accomplished route-runner, showing the agility and speed to create separation.
It’s impossible to discuss the drawbacks of drafting Joe Mixon without immediately delving into his assault incident. Mixon was suspended for the 2014 season by head coach Bob Stoops for punching a woman in a Norman, OK restaurant. The altercation, which was caught on a video and released to the public this past December, shows Mixon initially getting shoved by a woman. Mixon lunges at her in retaliation and after she slaps him, he connects with a vicious punch to her face that immediately floors her. The woman suffered a broken jaw, eye socket and cheekbone in the incident. Mixon was charged with a misdemeanor and has since completed counseling and 100 hours of community service.
As a player, there’s not much to gripe about. While he’s definitely not a plodder, Mixon does not possess elite, breakaway speed. His tall frame leaves him susceptible to taking square shots from defenders. He also has a habit of careless ball-security, which can be corrected with coaching and repetition.
From strictly a football evaluation, Joe Mixon is in the conversation as the best running back in this class. He has the size, speed, quickness, hands, vision, strength and attitude to be a dominant NFL back. Pre-draft interviews will highly important for Mixon, as he will not be allowed to attend the NFL Scouting Combine, due to the incident. Teams will have to decide whether his potentially transcendent talent is worth the PR nightmare sure to ensue. It has been repeatedly noted that Mixon has never been in trouble before, or after, the violent altercation. He has also profusely apologized publicly. So, whether he’s a bad dude or a young man who made a terrible mistake will be up to teams to figure out via extensive research.
Round 2 – Round 3