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Joe Mixon is poised for a huge year in the Bengals’ new offense

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There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, but Zac Taylor and Joe Mixon could come close.

Oakland Raiders v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Joe Mixon is one of the most underrated players in the NFL.

Last year should have been his breakout year, but unfortunately, nobody outside of Cincinnati noticed. Mixon is talented as a both a rusher and a pass-catcher who should be considered amongst the best in the league at his position,

Joe Mixon

Height: 6-1

Weight: 220

College: Oklahoma

Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Experience: 3rd year

Cap Status

Mixon has two years remaining on his rookie contract. This year his base salary will be $960,470 and his is total cap number is $1,486,408. Not too shabby for the Bengals.

Background

Mixon is an extremely talented back who has drawn comparisons to Le’Veon Bell for his patience. He started off slow during his rookie season, largely because the Bengals refused to take the training wheels off.

Once they committed to Mixon as their workhouse back in 2018, he showed that he is worth the hype. As a rookie, Mixon accounted 913 total yards, despite missing two games and getting less than 10 rushing attempts in seven games. He was also often used as the third running back behind Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard.

But as the season wore on, Mixon slowly became the focal point of the offense and showed flashes of becoming a star in this league.

Despite missing two games in 2018, he led the AFC in rushing last season with 1,168 yards on 237 carries. He also caught 43 passes for 296 yards.

Mixon has proven that he can be one of the best rushers in the league, even with poor offensive line play and questionable play-calling.

2019 Outlook

After an impressive sophomore campaign with the Bengals, Mixon won the lottery by getting an offensive head coach who knows how to use a top running back. Sean McVay built the Rams offense around the running game, and all indications are that McVay’s protege Zac Taylor will do the same with the Bengals offense.

Rams’ running back Todd Gurley was truly the centerpiece of their offense last season. Despite the disparity in talent between the Rams’ and Bengals’ offensive lines, both Gurley and Mixon averaged 4.9 yards per carry in 2018.

Starting the same number of games as Mixon, Gurley ran the ball 19 times more than Mixon did. The real difference in their usage was in the passing game. Mixon was targeted 55 times last season, but these passes were mostly check downs.

With the exception of a handful of screen plays, he was rarely the primary receiver. By contrast, Gurley was targeted 81 times and in more creative ways which were designed to put him in a position to make a play.

Despite concerns about the offensive line, expect Mixon to easily surpass 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in 2019.

Roster Odds

Mixon is a lock to make the Bengals roster. The 2018 AFC rushing champion is likely to see even better production as the centerpiece of Zac Taylor’s offense in 2019. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he leads the NFL in rushing.

Roster Odds: 100%