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Dynasty Prospect Profile: Joe Mixon

By Matt Schauf 2:03pm EST 3/9/17

Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma

Height: 6’1*
Weight: 226 pounds*
Age: 20.6

*according to CBS Sports


Pro Day results:

(according to Oklahoma Athletics)

40-yard dash: 4.43 seconds
Vertical: 35 inches
Broad: 9 feet 10 inches
3-cone: 7.00 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.25 seconds


College career:

Year

Rushes

Yards

Yds/Rush

TDs

Rec

Yards

Yds/Rec

TDs

2016

187

1274

6.8

10

37

538

14.5

5

2015

113

753

6.7

7

28

356

12.7

4

If you didn’t already know about Mixon’s big off-field issue before, then his absence from the NFL Scouting Combine brought it back to light.

Back in 2014, the then-freshman punched a female college student in the face. (Not allegedly. Here’s the video.) He worked out an “Alford Plea” to misdemeanor charges, which means that the defendant enters a guilty plea but doesn’t actually admit to committing the criminal act.

At this point, Mixon admits he made a “bad decision” that he’ll always have to “live with.” He says he’s “trying to educate youth throughout the community and having them learn from my mistakes.”

It’ll be up to NFL teams and you, the fantasy owner, to decide how to treat all that. He has, at least, appeared to stay clean off the field since that episode.

On the field, Mixon has had little trouble. Despite ranking 3rd on the team in carries in his 1st season of action, Mixon led the Sooners in yards per carry and tied now-Giants WR Sterling Shepard for 2nd on the team with 11 total TDs. Mixon’s 28 receptions ranked 4th on the team.

In 2016, he out-rushed teammate Samaje Perine by 214 yards and scored 2 more offensive TDs despite carrying the ball 9 fewer times. Mixon’s receptions and receiving yards each ranked 2nd on the team. He added a 16th TD via kick return, while also seeing a bit of action as a punt returner.

The NFL decided to not invite Mixon to the Combine, so we won’t get “official” measurements. But his 40 time from Wednesday’s Pro Day workout and his listed weight on CBS’ player page give Mixon a Speed Score of 117.4, which would have beaten Leonard Fournette for tops among this year’s RB class. According to NFL.com’s Gil Brandt, the league is telling teams that Mixon officially ran a 4.50-second 40. Even that would still give Mixon a 110.2 Speed Score, which would rank 3rd among this RB class.

Mixon also would have ranked 5th among RBs in the 20-yard shuttle, 6th in the 3-cone drill, tied for 10th in vertical and tied for 17th in the broad jump—by OU’s numbers.


Film study:

(Courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com)

Games watched: Texas Tech, Auburn, TCU, Texas Tech (2015)

There’s a whole lot to like about Mixon’s game. Let’s start with something that few other RBs display so well and that left Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth giggling every time they did a Steelers game: patience.

Le’Veon Bell has become the gold standard for hanging back behind the line, allowing the blocks to set up and then finding the lane. Mixon displays that ability to an impressive degree as well—especially when you consider that we’re talking about a 20-year-old with 2 seasons of college play behind him.

Mixon combines that patience with good vision. Check out this play from 2015 that should have gone for nothing but turned into a 5-yard gain.

Then let’s check out a run from 2016 – also against Texas Tech – that shows off pretty much everything Mixon delivers as a runner …

There’s the strength to run through early hits and stiff-arm a would-be tackler, vision to find the lane and acceleration to hit the hole once it develops.

Even at 226 pounds, Mixon has the feet and vision to escape a crowded backfield …

… and he can dip a shoulder and just drive it into the end zone.

And we haven’t even gotten to the receiving stuff yet.

Texas Tech should be particularly happy to see Mixon leave after the Sooners back produced 1-handed catch-and-run plays against the Red Raiders each of the past 2 seasons. I won’t bother overloading you with the videos of those. You can probably envision a short-range 1-hander.

But I will bother you with this 2016 play against TCU, where Mixon beats a CB in coverage and adjusts back to the ball to help his QB and snare a long reception.

The same game also included Mixon aligning wide right and running a ~10-yard “in” route to convert a 1st down. Or you could watch the whole 2016 matchup with Texas Tech and see the deep reception that Mixon took in for a 56-yard TD.

Catching 65 passes over his 2 seasons at Oklahoma tells you that Mixon’s capable of contributing in the passing game. His 13.8 yards per catch career suggest that he’s probably a better receiver than most RBs. Watching his tape confirms that OU coaches trusted Mixon as a receiver from various spots in the formation, that he catches the ball naturally and that he can deliver after the catch. Even the few pass-protection reps I caught looked solid.


Fantasy potential:

This is a 3-down back who will turn just 21 in July and didn’t log 200 carries in either of his college seasons. It’s fair to wonder whether Mixon would be ready to hold up to a workhorse load right away without the experience of filling that role. But few RBs actually do that in the NFL anymore. Seventeen RBs averaged 15+ carries per game last season in the NFL. Just 6 of those players caught more than 33 passes for the year.

We’ll see how the league treats Mixon’s off-field transgression. But the Chiefs drafted Tyreek Hill with at least as much baggage last year and then grew his role throughout the season. Once Mixon’s in the league, the 2014 incident won’t impact his fantasy outlook.

Assuming no further off-field issues, Mixon looks like 1 of 4-5 RBs capable of emerging as this class’ top backfield fantasy contributor.

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