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Joe Mixon inks rookie contract with Bengals

Joe Mixon is now officially a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Auburn vs Oklahoma John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have signed Joe Mixon to his rookie contract. It's a four-year deal worth up to $5,450,174, according to Spotrac. Mixon will make around $1 million as a rookie this year.

Jim Owczarski was the first to report the news.

Though Mixon didn’t hear his name called until pick No. 48 in Round 2, many experts viewed him as the top running back prospect in this draft in terms of pure talent. One of the most electrifying running backs during his two years in college, Mixon finished his career at Oklahoma with 2,027 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on 300 carries.

Last season with the Sooners, Mixon racked up 1,274 rushing yards on 187 runs (6.8 avg.) and 10 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 37 passes for 538 receiving yards (14.5 avg.) and five scores. He even returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

With 194 all-purpose yards per game, he ranked among the top-five runners in college football last season, which helped make it an easy call to declare for the draft as a redshirt sophomore.

Mixon's 40-yard dash time at his pro day was 4.43 seconds. That would have been the fourth-fastest time among running backs participating at the NFL Combine and is faster than Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey ran it in Indianapolis.

But, as well all know, Mixon was not invited to the NFL Combine. There’s no question Mixon was one of, if not the most controversial prospect in this year's draft, and the Bengals took a major chance on him. His troubled past at Oklahoma caused teams to pass on this first-round talent, but the Bengals feel he's a changed man and will contribute positively to the roster in Cincinnati.

Let's hope that's the case. He certainly has the talent to be the Bengals’ bellcow back as early as his rookie season, and he should have that role under locks by next year when Jeremy Hill hits free agency.

The only two Bengals rookies who are unsigned are third round pick Jordan Willis and fifth round pick J.J. Dielman.