Should you trust Joe Mixon to rebound in 2021? | Draft Sharks

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Should you trust Joe Mixon to rebound in 2021?

By Kevin English 10:05am EDT 5/26/21

This is a free preview of a 2021 player profile. Draft Sharks Insiders will have access to over 300 player profiles in mid-June.

Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals

What You Need to Know:

- Mixon signed a 4-year extension just prior to Week 1 of last season.

- Injuries quickly became the theme of his 4th year. He landed on the injury report with shin, chest and foot injuries. The right foot injury ended Mixon’s season after Week 6.

- No specifics were given on Mixon’s injury, but the lengthy absence was curious after HC Zac Taylor initially called the RB “day to day.” The good news is that Mixon was a full-go for the start of OTAs in late May.

- Prior to the foot issue, Mixon struggled to produce behind a bad O-line. His 1.9 yards before contact per attempt ranked bottom-5 among qualifiers.

- Mixon saw 20+ opportunities (carries + targets) in all 6 games. He was on pace for a career-high 56 catches.

- Mixon averaged 3.6 yards per carry; 2.55 yards after contact per attempt. The poor O-line certainly played a role.

- He faced 8+ defenders in the box on just 8.4% of his carries. Cincy will continue going 3-WR heavy with Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and top pick Ja'Marr Chase.

- The hope is that the O-line improves. Veteran RT Riley Reiff is locked into a starting role, and Round 2 rookie OG Jackson Carman will battle for another. LT Jonah Williams will need to stay healthy after landing on IR in back to back years.

- The Bengals released Gio Bernard in April. The career-long Bengal had caught 30+ balls in 8 straight seasons.

- There isn’t a clear handcuff to Mixon. Samaje Perine, Trayveon Williams and rookie Chris Evans will battle for the role.

- OC Brian Callahan said the following this offseason: "I don't want Joe to leave the field, and I think he's up for that challenge.”

- Joe Burrow suffered a major knee injury last November. A slow start is possible for the young passer, but the doctor working on Burrow’s rehab said in May that he’s on track for Week 1.

Draft Sharks Bottom Line

Before a lost 2020, Mixon tallied 1,400 total yards in back to back seasons. That production surfaced primarily with Andy Dalton under center and Gio Bernard siphoning receptions.

Mixon’s 2021 setup looks like his best one yet. Joe Burrow is track to return for Week 1, while Gio Bernard is finally gone. Plus, impact rookie Ja'Marr Chase joins an already strong WR corps. So Mixon should find more room to run— even with modest O-line improvements.

Only 25, the highly-athletic Mixon looks like one of the league’s top rebound candidates and a desirable RB1/2.

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