With the NFL season over, the media is turning its attention to free agency (one month away!) and the NFL Draft (end of April!). Here’s a heads up: Free agency is going to be dominated by the rumors about QBs Tony Romo and Jimmy Garoppolo, and the draft chatter will mostly center around the QBs (Kizer, Trubisky and Watson), star running backs (Cook & Fournette) and one high-risk, high-reward player: Joe Mixon of Oklahoma.
The running back was arrested for assault of a woman in July 2014 when he punched her in the face at a restaurant. Video emerged late last year. [Warning, it’s graphic.]
Mixon “sat out” a year, and then played as a redshirt freshman before having a massive sophomore season (1,274 rushing yards, 538 receiving yards, 16 total touchdowns), looking like the Top 10 high school recruit he was in 2013.
So Mixon decided to leave early for the NFL draft, and now we’ll have two months of questions about whether or not he will be drafted. From a football standpoint, there’s no doubt he is worthy of being an early-round draft pick. If you saw the Super Bowl, there’s no doubt Mixon could be James White, one of New England’s heroes. Mixon is bigger, faster, and perhaps stronger.
But there is video of the Mixon assault. So how do teams square the two? The inevitable PR backlash will be significant. A GM who wants to draft Mixon may have a daughter who just can’t get past the idea that it could have been her.
Or, just the obvious: He can’t be a good person to slug a woman like that. The counter: Well, it did happen the day after he turned 18; he’s avoided trouble since. But is he a ticking time bomb? That’s what teams have to try and decipher.
And this is how hard it’ll be, via Albert Breer of MMQB:
“But the guy the Chiefs drafted (Tyreek Hill), Joe Mixon isn’t half the douchebag that guy was. … You’d have to search to find people that don’t like him. Maybe the parking-lot attendant. Everyone there loves him. And I believe them.”
Tyreek Hill, who starred for the Chiefs this season, allegedly punched his pregnant girlfriend in the face and stomach; he signed a plea deal that says he choked her. There was no video. Hill was 20 at the time, but has avoided trouble since.