The Cincinnati Bengals added two Big 12 players on Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft. First, came Joe Mixon in Round 2, a running back out of Oklahoma. In Round 3, the Bengals added Jordan Willis, a defensive end from Kansas State.
The Wildcats and Sooners play each year, so Willis and Mixon already are somewhat familiar with one another as they've scouted each other for their games for the last two years.
In their joint introductory press conference after being drafted, the duo were asked to scout each other for the media crowd in attendance.
“Very athletic he is,” Mixon said, “He’s very athletic. Obviously he’s fast, 4.5 guy, makes plays, and I feel like he’s going to be a great addition to the Bengals.
“I think Joe is a little bit underrated,” Willis said. “I think he’s up there with some of the other running backs who got drafted earlier on. Of the running backs I played this past year, he’s probably the hardest to tackle, great football player. I think he’s going to do great things going forward.”
In 2016, the Sooners beat the Wildcats, 38-17, which wasn't too bad considering Oklahoma beat Kansas State 55-0 in 2015. In the 2015 game, Mixon had 73 yards on 15 carries (4.9 yards per carry) and 1 rushing touchdown. And added to that with 29 yards and 1 touchdown through the air. In the 2016 matchup, Mixon had 88 yards on 19 carries (4.6 yard per carry average) and 3 catches for 34 yards and 1 touchdown. Clearly, Willis knew who he was before they became Bengals teammates.
As for Willis, he had 9 total tackles including 1 tackle for loss against the Sooners in 2016 and 2 total tackles, including 1 for loss in the 2015 game.
It’s great to see Willis and Mixon already pumping each other up as they’re set to be teammates for at least the next four years.