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Scouting Profile: Running Back Joe Mixon

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Apr 5, 2017

Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon may very well be the most talented all-around running back in this class, but his off-the-field issues may slide him down the draft board.

Joe Mixon, Oklahoma

Height: 6’1”
Weight: 228 lbs.
40-yard dash: 4.50 seconds
3-Cone drill: 7.10 seconds
Broad jump: 9’10”

There isn’t any way to get around it – Mixon has demonstrated some poor decision making off the field, which will affect his draft stock. In fact, if he wasn’t such a top-tier talent, most teams wouldn’t even have them on their draft board. But that’s the thing – Mixon is a specimen on the football field that is still getting day one consideration, despite his character flaws. In fact, it can be argued that he’s the best all-around running back in this class.

As a father and a person who strongly stands against domestic violence, I’ll admit that I didn’t want to like Mixon. There is always a human element when you see/hear about these incidents, but as we all know, fantasy sports doesn’t hear or see them. Once you watch Mixon, it’s easy to understand why some teams haven’t removed him from their boards. He has some of the same traits that the best running backs over the last 10 years have had.

It’s impossible to watch Mixon and not be reminded of Le’Veon Bell, as he is one of the most patient running backs that I’ve watched. He doesn’t offer the straight-up jukes that Bell does when he’s one-on-one in the open field, but he has no issue stopping his feet, waiting for blocks to develop. I’ve talked about Leonard Fournette’s patience, but Mixon’s is different, as Fournette always keep his legs moving, while Mixon will almost tippy-toe behind his blockers. Both are very strong in that area and why they’re both looked at as the top running backs in the class.

No matter what type of run Mixon is doing (off tackle, up the middle, a sweep), he has so many variations in his game speed. He’ll slowly approach a defender, only to cut up the field and burst past him. There are other times where he’ll see a hole and pounce immediately. He doesn’t just win with his speed, either. He can throw a stiff arm with the best of them and break arm tackles with ease. As a runner, he does most things you’d want. Outside of him maybe being too patient at times, you could ask for his pad level to come down some, but there isn’t much else.

As far as his receiving goes, he’s very competent there as well. He was used quite a bit out of the backfield with Oklahoma and looked comfortable doing so. His speed allows him to be used in a variety of ways, creating mismatches for the defense. He’s also a very strong and willing blocker, which is something that’s not very common among college running backs.

Bottom line with Mixon is that he’s a very talented individual who has done some very bad things in his life. Is he a rehabilitated man? That’s not for me to decide, but it does seem like there are some teams willing to take a chance on him. What he does on the football field is provide you a competitive edge, which is why he’ll be a good asset to have on your fantasy team.

Potential landing spot

It’s almost impossible to project where a player like Mixon will go because there are plenty of teams who won’t touch him because of the off-the-field concerns, combined with all the media attention they’d receive due to drafting him. With that being said, the Giants seem to be a team where Mixon could fit in. They’ve addressed their wide receiver position in free agency, have a defense that can contend for a Super Bowl, and can potentially get a big discount on a difference maker like Mixon after building their offensive line in the first round or two? It also doesn’t hurt that Brandon Marshall (who has previously had domestic issues and got treatment) would be there to help mentor him. Other teams that may show interest include the Jaguars, Panthers, Eagles, Colts, and the Buccaneers.

NFL comparison

Instead of taking the easy way out and just saying Le’Veon Bell, I’m going to say that Mixon is a combination of Bell and Matt Forte. All three running backs seem to float as they run, with some of their most impressive traits coming in the receiving game. Mixon isn’t as elusive as Bell is running the ball and isn’t quite the receiver that Forte is, but he’s close to both, and that makes him a very attractive target in dynasty drafts.

To read up on some of the other high-profile NFL Draft prospects, check out the links below:

Leonard Fournette – (RB, LSU)
Corey Davis – (WR, Western Michigan)
Mike Williams – (WR, Clemson)
John Ross – (WR, Washington)
Taywan Taylor – (WR, Western Kentucky)
JuJu Smith-Schuster – (WR, USC)

Ep. 73: Over & Undervalued Player Rankings

Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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