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Joe Mixon is the Bengals’ most likely player to become a first-time Pro Bowler in 2018

Is there a player on the Bengals’ roster more likely than Joe Mixon to be selected to his first-ever Pro Bowl this season?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Even though its mid-June, some people are already thinking about the Pro Bowl.’s Gil Brandt is one of those people. Brandt has already examined each team and selected one potential first-time Pro Bowler from each. He selected a player from Cincinnati who had a somewhat disappointing year in 2017, but is looking to turn things around by the time the 2018 season starts.

CINCINNATI BENGALS: Joe Mixon, RB, second NFL season. Mixon didn’t exactly light the world on fire in 2017, finishing with 913 yards from scrimmage (including 626 rushing yards on 178 attempts for a less-than-inspiring yards-per-carry mark of 3.5) and just four touchdowns in 14 games (seven starts). But he has outstanding big-play ability and 4.45 speed; he just needs to start full-time. I see him breaking the 1,000-yard mark on the ground behind Cincinnati’s revamped O-line.

The Bengals selected Joe Mixon in the second round in the 2017 draft, hoping to get some juice out of their offense. Unfortunately, the offense took a huge leap backward.

Mixon did not have the rookie season that many thought he would, despite being one of the few players on offense who carried his own weight. Brandt alluded to the Bengals offensive line, which was where most of the offense’s problems originated. Though the line was surprising efficient in pass protection, they were toward the bottom of the league in run blocking. Too many times we saw Mixon scramble around the backfield and make defenders miss only to break even at the line of scrimmage.

As Brandt mentioned, the Bengals have rebuilt the offensive line by adding Cordy Glenn at tackle, Billy Price at center, and Frank Pollack to coach them. More holes should open up for Mixon now.

In addition to the problems when he had the ball in his hands, he was buried on the depth chart to start the year by Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. Hill had too many touches too early in the season, and Mixon didn’t see double-digit carries until Week 3. Even then, he didn’t start until Hill hit Injured Reserve. Brandt’s stipulation that Mixon needs to start seems perfectly attainable now that the Bengals parted ways with Hill.

Finally, the offense should look better with Bill Lazor as the full-time offensive coordinator. The Bengals fired Ken Zampese after scoring zero touchdowns two weeks into the season. Even when Lazor was promoted to interim OC in the wake of Zampese’s departure, it still felt like he was never fully in control of the offense. Lazor finally has command of the offense, and Mixon should be one of many players to benefit.

As Brandt stated, Mixon’s numbers were sadly uninspiring in his rookie year. The former Oklahoma running back was so underwhelming that his 3.5 yards-per-carry actually seems higher than it should be. Again, no fingers should really be pointed at Mixon—he did everything he needed to do, plus some. The team around him was imploding, which made it difficult for everyone. It was so sad to see so much talent being wasted in the Bengals backfield like that.

Mixon should definitely make a case for the Pro Bowl this go around. Brandt’s prediction of 1,000 yards this season isn’t a stretch; the new offensive line and the play calling from Lazor should be enough to help Mixon take off. He still showed brief flashes of potential last season, despite being burdened with all of the aforementioned issues.

If everything goes well we might be talking about Glenn, Price, John Ross and William Jackson making their first Pro Bowls alongside Mixon.


Which Bengals player do you think has the best shot at making his first Pro Bowl appearance this season?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Joe Mixon
    (75 votes)
  • 76%
    William Jackson
    (293 votes)
  • 1%
    John Ross
    (5 votes)
  • 2%
    Billy Price
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    Cordy Glenn
    (2 votes)
383 votes total Vote Now