By Michael Zingrone
So your team passed on Joe Mixon for non-football reasons, and that was a huge *Trump voice* mistake. He leads this RB rookie class in receiving yards/game and yards/ rush attempt against 7 or fewer defender boxes per Fantasy Guru. In other words he’s perfect for todays NFL. Now the Bengals have a three-down running back your team could’ve.
After totaling nearly 3,000 scrimmage yards and 26 TDs in his two season playing for the University of Oklahoma, Mixon looked like a favorable back in this years class. To put that in retrospec, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey tallied 3,215 total yards with only 15 TD’s in his first two seasons. And lets not forget that McCaffrey was drafted at a way higher spot than Mixon. Mixon would’ve killed his yardage total if he didn’t have to share reps with Oklahoma’s all-time leading rusher Samaje Perine, who had at least 200 touches a year.
The 6’1″, 226 pound former 5-star recruit, and Sooner single-season all-purpose yards record holder, has immense talent that is just waiting to be unloaded. But it is a shame what one mistake can do to a person. Incase you live under a rock, Mixon hit a women in 2014, then proceeded to get “suspended” one year by Oklahoma. I am not defending what Mixon did at all, but when a kid racks up the accolades such as he has, one moment shouldn’t have 31 teams look elsewhere on the draft board. I mean he made a dumb mistake, but in todays day in age, is it wrong to treat athletes like they are anything less than human? I mean it is severe, but so are a lot of other things committed by human beings of the same degree. The difference is that pro athletes mistakes are more athletes, because they are, well, very famous.
Mixon is a top-15 pick talent, that isn’t even a question. In my opinion he is the second best RB in this class neck and neck with McCaffrey. But he falls to the second-round, three years after the incident he continuously acknowledges and apologizes for.
Take a team like the Eagles for a second. They had the 43rd pick, they also have a HUGE need at the running back position. Instead of pulling the trigger on Mixon and getting a back that is their starter day one and the best RB fit possible, they pick Sidney Jones. I love the Jones pick do not get me wrong, but coming of an Achilles tear and most likely needs a redshirt year, was that really the best selection? Yes they were handcuffed to draft a corner by taking an edge-rusher in round one. But handcuffing is never as excuse to pass up on a player that you can start day one. Did the Jets really need to double-down on safeties when Mixon is sitting there who is better than Matt Forte who is declining and will turn 32 half-way through the season. Also he is so electric he will be a better safety net than Forte for whatever below-average QB the Jets decide to throw out week one. Nothing against Forte, but come on now I would rather have Mixon to at least have a feel for what my offense could be for the future.
This situation reminds me of the 2013 situation around Cardinal safety Tyrann Mathieu. There were plenty of teams who needed secondary help badly at the time (Eagles, Jaguars, and Browns – of course – to name a few) and were in primetime Honey Badger range. But instead those teams went elsewhere, and filled the “need” with a different corner. Mathieu was an animal at LSU. No pun was intended there, or was it? He forced 15 turnovers, and had 133 tackles in 26 games as a safety. Like who passes over those numbers from a safety who attended LSU, which is pretty much defensive back university, over a problem that can be dealt with. Today everyone regrets passing on Mathieu, the same will happen with Mixon.
Now the Bengals have receivers galore by adding the speedy and agile John Ross to compliment A.J Green. They already have a top tier tight end in Tyler Eifert, and Andy Dalton can be close to elite if he finally decides to be consistent. Mixon will get reps, and the box will not be loaded due to the previously mentioned player, and he will eat that up. The situation Mixon is in gives him a really good chance to be in the OROY discussion as soon as the season starts.
It’s okay, their is no need to be upset, I’m sure your team had a good draft. But if your team had a pick before the 48th selection, and he is a bust, and your team can’t run the ball, don’t scratch your head because you already know what is wrong. Your team passed on the, soon to be, face of this years class, Joe Mixon.