All aboard the Joe Mixon hype train!
The former Oklahoma Sooners running back was Cincinnati’s second pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, going 48th overall. In 2016, his final season of college football, Mixon recorded 1,274 rushing yards, 6.8 yards per carry and 10 rushing touchdowns. He also notched 538 receiving yards at 14.5 yards per catch and five touchdown grab on 37 grabs.
In 2015, Mixon ran for 753 yards on 113 carries (6.7 avg.) and seven scores, while chipping in 28 catches for 356 yards (12.7 avg.) and four scores. He did all of this while splitting time with another future NFL back, Samaje Perine, who went 114th overall to Washington in this year’s draft.
Mixon’s stellar redshirt sophomore season in 2016 was enough for him to declare for the draft before eventually being drafted by the Bengals.
Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Mixon, running back
Coach Marvin Lewis often slow-cooks his rookies, but Mixon is ticketed for major snaps right away. A three-down back with fascinating run and pass-catching ability, the second-round pick is already drawing praise from quarterback Andy Dalton for his versatility and fluid fit in the offense. Mixon's off-the-field history is concerning, but the Bengals felt comfortable enough to take him on. With phenomenal size, speed and footwork, the former Sooner led one scout to say, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "He's Adrian Peterson who returns kicks. Great receiver, not a good receiver. He can line up wide or as a slot. He's a bigger, better Ezekiel Elliott. He can do more." If so, securing a Pro Bowl berth won't be an issue.
That kind of praise shows just how talented of a player the Bengals received in Mixon, and it’s not hard to see that level of talent finding itself in a Pro Bowl sooner rather than later. The Bengals are bound to give Mixon a heavy workload in 2017, and perhaps even make him the featured back at some point in the season. He’ll likely split time with Jeremy Hill and/or Giovani Bernard throughout the season, but it’s still possible the Bengals just ride him heavy as the season wears on.
If we’re talking about an outright Pro Bowl berth, it may not be easy for Mixon while playing in the same conference as Le’Veon Bell, Jay Ajayi, DeMarco Murray, LeSean McCoy, Lamar Miller and Melvin Gordon. However, anything is possible given Mixon’s talent.