Joseph Tyler Mixon was born in San Francisco, California, and will be 24-years old this season. He attended Freedom High School in Oakley, California, where he played both basketball and football. A three-year starter at running back in high school, Mixon improved each year, finishing his senior year with 1,704 yards and 23 touchdowns on 226 carries. He was also a respectable basketball player averaging 12.2 points per game.
Mixon was a five-star recruit and ranked as the #1 running back in the nation coming out of high school. With 47 different scholarship offers to choose from, Mixon chose Oklahoma over Alabama. His start at the University Oklahoma in 2014 did not go as expected, being suspended from the football team after a misdemeanor assault for striking a female student, and ended up not playing in the 2014 season.
In the 2015 season, Mixon started to make waves, as he rushed for 749 yards on only 110 carries, averaging an impressive 6.8 yards per carry. He also rushed for seven touchdowns and recorded 25 receptions, averaging 13.8 yards per reception and catching four touchdowns.
His 2016 season with his coming out party as he rushed 187 times for 1,274 yards, 6.8 YPC, adding in 37 catches for 538 yards and a total of 15 touchdowns. After the season concluded, Mixon decided to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft.Mixon was a first-round talent; however, many believed he would be a third or fourth round decision because of his past. The New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft specifically commented on Mixon’s situation, stating that he believed in second chances but felt that his privilege was lost when he abused a woman.
Mixon was measured at 6‘ ¾”, while weighing 228 pounds. He ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash, which propelled him as a second-round draft selection by the Cincinnati Bengals. Mixon was the fourth running back taken that year.
In Mixon’s rookie season, he played in 14 games and rushed 178 times for 626 yards, adding 30 receptions and combining for a total of four touchdowns. An underwhelming season, to say the least.
Mixon made up significantly for this in his sophomore season (2018), rushing 237 times for 1,168 yards, a healthy 4.9 yards per carry as well as catching 43 passes for almost 300 yards, combining for a total of nine touchdowns. Something to note, this was after he suffered a knee injury causing him to miss a total of two games after he underwent a small procedure.
In the 2019 season, Mixon played all 16 games, rushing 178 times for 1,137 yards, but he was less efficient, as he went from a yards per carry average of 4.9 in 2018 to 4.1 in 2019. He caught 35 passes and scored a total of 8 touchdowns.
For the most part, Mixon was horrid in 2019. He had more games performed as an RB3 (6 games) than an RB1 (5 games). Most of this has to do with a bad offensive line and an immobile quarterback in Andy Dalton.
The offensive line uses a gap power scheme. Center Trey Hopkins is the star of the group and rewarded a contract extension. It will be interesting to see how 2019 rookie Jonah Williams will rebound after missing the entire season with a shoulder injury. Williams was a first-round pick and 11th overall. Michael Jordan, Xavier Su'a-Filo, and Bobby Hart complete the line.
Mixon has a lot of talent surrounding him. Wide receivers A.J. Green and John Ross are speedsters but neither can stay healthy. Tyler Boyd seems to be a better fit as a WR2 than a WR1 but can put up good numbers. Cincinnati drafted Tee Higgins in the second round as they will need a possible replacement for Ross and Green. They also have Auden Tate and Alex Erickson.
Due to mediocre quarterback play and bad offensive line performance, Mixon has not been able to showcase his talents to the maximum. The offense is getting better, but Joe Burrow, a rookie quarterback, won’t help him much.
Mixon will keep his floor afloat with his capability in catching the ball. However, he has been all over the place in his weekly statistics since entering the league in 2017. He is just not very consistent.
His ceiling is not explosive. The quarterback play won’t be much higher than we have seen. Burrow is more talented, but he won’t set the stage on fire. The offensive line is still limiting, but with the mobility at QB and the RPO system, it should bump Mixon’s stats.
Mixon suffered a couple of injuries in his NFL career that caused him to miss some time. In December of his rookie season, he suffered a concussion, which caused him to miss two games. Upon return, he suffered an ankle sprain that caused him to miss the rest of that game but returned the next week.
The most significant injury to date for Mixon is an injury to his right knee, which sounds like a meniscal tear. Mixon required arthroscopic surgery to remove a ‘loose particle,’ and he was able to return in week five, missing a little over three weeks. The time lost is a standard expected timeline for recovery for an NFL athlete with a minor tear in his meniscus.
Let’s talk about meniscus tear injuries. The meniscus is the cartilage in between the upper and lower leg bones of the knee. Each knee has a lateral and medial meniscus that span from the front of the knee to the back of the knee, and are C-shaped.
The ACL and PCL are directly in the middle of the knee with a meniscus lying on each side. The meniscus serves as a cushion for the knee, think of them as shocks, like for your car. The majority of the meniscus unfortunately does not have a very good blood supply. So injuries to the meniscus often do not heal very well, so repair (like a rotator cuff injury) is rarely, and usually only occurs in significant tears or teenagers.
Think of tearing a meniscus like ripping a piece of paper, and then trying to keep that paper flat without applying any tape or glue to do so. If that paper flips upon itself, then the bone above can directly smash into the bone below, which causes significant pain and swelling. Some patients even describe a ‘lightning-bolt’ like sharp pain going down their leg with specific movements. If the tear is small, then the piece may settle back into place with rehab alone.
However, if the tear is large, covers a lot of the meniscus, or is in the back of the meniscus/knee, where it inserts into the bone, then these often do not heal very well. I like to describe tears in the back part of the meniscus like driving a rear-wheel-drive car and suffering a flat in one of the rear tires. It would be very challenging to continue to drive that car because the car would be swerving all over the road due to the flat tire. It is the same thing with a posterior meniscal tear.
20+ years ago, most injuries to the meniscus would immediately go for arthroscopic surgery, commonly referred to as a ‘knee scope.’ Where a surgeon would remove as small a portion of the meniscus as possible, remove small particles that were floating around, and then start physical therapy to get the patient back to normal.
Several studies have demonstrated that patients with mild to moderate meniscal tears often do just as well with only rehabilitation, when compared to those who had surgery as well as rehab. The main difference was that those who underwent surgery ended up getting arthritis in your knee faster than those who didn’t have surgery.
It’s similar to removing the shocks for a car and expecting the car to function as if it’s still had the shocks. Once your meniscus is taken, that’s it, what’s gone is gone, and you never ‘grow’ a new one.
Advancements in regenerative medicine, including amniotic stem cell, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), as well as bone marrow aspirate (‘stem cell’) have helped some people, even with copious tears, get back to normal without requiring surgery. Unfortunately, some people with large tears will still need surgery.
Athletes, often in the middle of the season, do not have the time to wait for injections or rehab and have a tendency to be aggressive, undergoing arthroscopic surgery. While this will help them in the short term, usually, this aggressiveness causes significant issues for their knee in the future.
Mixon has performed admirably after his knee arthroscopy and should probably continue to perform well. Unfortunately, he will be at higher risk of suffering a new knee injury.
Mixon suffered a minor ankle injury in week three of the 2019 season, but this did not prevent him from suiting up the next week. It appeared that throughout the entire 2019 season, Mixon was unable to get much running room behind a weak offensive line.
Sports Injury Predictor calculates that Mixon has a 55.4% chance of injury in 2020, or about a 4.9% chance of injury per game. He projects him to miss 1.8 games in 2020.
Mixon has been able to stay relatively healthy throughout his career, despite never attempting over 300 carries as a pro, including high school and college. He has shown flashes of being a dual-threat RB (running + receiving), has an excellent pedigree, and now his team is improving around him.
My risk score for Mixon is only a 4 out of 10, and I think he has strong potential to not only stay healthy but have a fantastic 2020 season.
With several upgraded weapons around him, in Burrow, Green, Boyd, Ross and Tate, and Higgins. An improving but still weak offensive line, Mixon has the potential to break out in 2020. However, he has not shown the ability to score in the double-digit touchdowns, and his reception totals are average at best. Mixon should finish anywhere between an RB8-10.
Injury Risk: Moderate. 4/10.
|Projected Missed||Probability of injury per game ?||Probablity of injury in the season ?|
|Sep 13, 2018||Knee Tear||Mixon needed arthroscopic surgery to remove a "loose particle" from his right knee after the Week 2 game against Baltimore.|
|Dec 24, 2017||Pedal Ankle Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Mixon departed early in Week 16 but returned for Week 17.|
|Dec 4, 2017||Head Cranial Concussion Grade 2||Mixon missed 2 games after getting concussed against Pittsburgh.|