Joe Mixon is one of the most polarizing players available in this year’s draft, but the team that selects him will be getting a very rare talent.
It’s hard not to be impressed by a player like Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon. He’s a jack of all trades running back with the ability to make plays on the ground and as a receiver. His talent is undeniably rare, but his off-field concerns are just as momentous.
While Mixon certainly has his fair share of issues, there is no reason to believe he can’t be a game-changing player at the next level—that is if he can get his head in the right place.
Let’s start by looking at the positives. Mixon finished his two-year career at Oklahoma having rushed for 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns with an average of 6.8 yards per carry. He also tallied nearly 900 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Despite sharing touches with Samaje Perine in 2016, Mixon still managed to register 1,274 rushing yards, 538 receiving yards and a total of 15 scores.
At 6’1″, 226 pounds, Mixon has the ideal size of a workhorse running back. Despite his size, he still has good speed and elusiveness in space. Of course, he can bull his way for extra yardage as well. As a receiver, Mixon runs good routes and catches everything thrown at him. He averaged 14.5 yards per reception last season.
Here are some of Mixon’s best highlights from Oklahoma.
Now it’s time for the elephant in the room. Mixon may be a talented athlete, but he has some serious issues as a person.
In 2014, Mixon was suspended for the entire season after assaulting a female, causing her to have multiple bones in her face surgically repaired. A video of the incident was released in December, which forced this public apology.
Mixon was also suspended for a game in 2016 after an altercation between himself and a parking attendant. In this incident, Mixon reportedly tore up a parking citation and threw it at the parking attendant’s face.
Without a doubt, Mixon’s checkered past will eliminate him from a lot of team’s draft boards. The team that selects him will need to be willing to work on his personal issues as well as preparing him for the pros. But, luckily, it won’t take much to get him playing up to snuff at the next level.
Mixon is the definition of a high-risk, high-reward player. If he meets his full potential, he is capable of becoming a game-changer in the NFL. But that’s no guarantee. Mixon needs a lot of work as a person. If his off-field antics continue, his career will go down in flames.