Since declaring for the NFL Draft back in January, Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon has been the topic of a lot of conversation in NFL circles. Back in 2014, he punched a female student during an argument, which has raised questions about his character and whether he deserves to play in the NFL.
For what it’s worth, OU suspended Mixon for the entire 2014 season, but it wasn’t until 2016 – after the release of the video of the incident – that he issued a public apology. He was also suspended one game this past season for arguing with an OU parking attendant after he received a ticket.
Despite Mixon’s off-the-field incidents, he has been one of the best running backs in the country over the past two seasons. In terms of talent, Mixon can play in any NFL offense. Gap-blocking, I-formation, shotgun, spread – he can do it all. It’s also worth keeping in mind that he shared the load with another quality running back in Samaje Perine.
But again, it all comes back to his off-field troubles.
The 2017 NFL Draft Class is Full of Talented Running Backs
It will be interesting to see which team ultimately takes a chance on Mixon.
Most mock drafts across the internet predict that LSU’s Leonard Fournette will be the first running back taken in tonight’s draft. However, everything I have seen him do in college has involved running over players or running past players. I’m not sure if being bigger and stronger than everyone else will be as big of a factor in the NFL. For those reasons, I believe that Dalvin Cook AND Mixon are better NFL prospects than Fournette.
But let’s get back to the real issue at hand.
“No NFL Team Should Draft Joe Mixon Because of His Past”
Ummm… is he suddenly not allowed to earn a living anymore because he committed a crime?
“No, It’s Just That He Can’t Do a Job That Others Want To Do”
Yeah, sorry. Life just isn’t fair.
Mixon’s situation ultimately comes down to one question… will he commit another act of domestic violence?
Whether it’s right or wrong, most teams have probably answered “no” to that question. If they have already taken him off their draft boards, however, it is completely understandable why they would make that assumption. Mixon’s actions towards the female OU student were largely preventable. He should have just walked away.
Today, I believe he would walk away because… a) a year-long suspension from football is a pretty big deal and b) he’s carried this with him for almost three years and will carry it with him for the rest of his life. If NFL teams believe that he will not fall victim to recidivism when it comes to domestic violence, than a team will draft him.
For those who may have forgotten… back in 2014, then Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulted his then fiancée at an Atlantic City casino. Just over a month later, TMZ released a video of Rice dragging her out of an elevator after apparently knocking her out. Rice was ultimately released by the Ravens in Sept. 2014 and has not played in the NFL since the incident.
Of course, people will make the lazy argument and say that the video is why Rice is not signed to an NFL team. However, it’s worth noting that Rice struggled mightily to start the 2013 season due to injuries and after four straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons, he was held to just 660 rushing yards. For the past three years, there have been legitimate questions as to whether Rice can still be a serviceable running back in the NFL.
If teams thought he could still be a serviceable player, Rice would be on an NFL roster because he has handled the incident as well as anyone could have asked him to handle it. Rice has put in the time and effort to make himself a better person. Last year, he vowed to give all of his potential salary to various domestic violence charities. Unfortunately, Rice has never made it back to the NFL because teams don’t think he can play anymore. It has nothing to do with the video.
In other words, the video will not affect Mixon’s draft status at all… because he could become a star NFL running back for many years to come.
How Long Will People Continue to Adjudicate Mixon’s Incident?
Again, it’s worth noting that this incident happened three years ago.
When Mixon gets to the NFL, there will be backlash once again among fans and the media because they’re new to him. There will be the CBS/ESPN/FOX/NBC broadcasts that start with, “Here is Joe Mixon, a young man who did [explain story]…” and we will hear the same thing for at least his first season in the NFL.
But Remember Tyreek Hill and Randy Moss?
Back in 2015, Hill pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery by strangulation in a 2014 incident involving his then-pregnant girlfriend. In November, NBC’s Cris Collinsworth said this of Hill during the broadcast of the Chiefs-Broncos game:
As an organization, they obviously put him through every program you can imagine, and it’s still ongoing… but it obviously gets into those fine lines of second chances versus maybe you don’t deserve a second chance sometimes. But they took a chance.
To me, what Hill did was FAR WORSE then what Mixon did.
The reason I bring up Hill is because he was not taken until the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. This past season, he was only one of two rookies named first team All-Pro (as a punt returner) and was one of three rookies named to the Pro Bowl.
How many teams do you think are mad at themselves because they passed on Hill?
The same thing happened to Randy Moss during the buildup to the 1998 NFL Draft. The past issues were laid out for everyone to see:
– 30-day jail sentence for misdemeanor charge in high school
– expelled from said high school
– violated probation after testing positive for marijuana and served another 60 days in jail
– dismissed from FSU football team
After two All-American-type seasons at Marshall University, Moss projected as a high first-round pick. However, he fell to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 21 overall after a number of teams in need of a wide receiver, most notably the Dallas Cowboys, passed on him due to his documented legal problems.
How mad do you think Jerry Jones and those 19 other teams are for passing on Moss?
So When Will Mixon Get Drafted?
NFL Draft analysts and scouts believe Mixon possesses first-round talent. There will be multiple general managers that want to take him later in the draft, but don’t be surprised if a team sneaks up to take him in the second or third round.
So Yeah… Mixon Will Be A Star NFL Running Back
It is perfectly understandable why people will never root for Mixon again, especially after watching that video. We all have things that we decide that we just cannot forgive.
But in this case, life just isn’t fair. It’s not worth getting worked up over something that is bound to happen. Joe Mixon will become an NFL running back, and chances are, he will be a star.
All you can do is hope that Mixon becomes a different person than he was that night in 2014.
Let me know what you think in the comment section or send me a tweet @danny_shin131