Name: Joe Mixon
Position fit: Potential every-down running back who can make a significant impact as a receiver out of the backfield
Stats to know: Forced a missed tackle once for every 3.9 offensive touches, and his nine missed tackles forced on receptions were tied for fifth-most in the draft class.
What he does best:
- Burst can beat defenders to the edge, although doesn’t have elite, breakaway top speed.
- Excellent receiving ability out of the backfield, both at the catch point and after the catch.
- Had to body-catch many targets due to route and throw location, but does show good hands when given the opportunity.
- Forces missed tackles in multiple ways. Possesses the elusiveness to make defenders miss, and also the strength to break through tackles.
- Shows quickness and lateral agility to make defenders miss in the hole.
- Forward lean helps him gain yards after contact, but it can also cause him to get off balance and go down earlier than he should from linebackers and safety just throwing themselves into him without wrapping up.
- Shows average vision and patience. Pacing can be off at times and he can be late recognizing a seam that has opened up. Will he be as successful in a non-spread offense when reads aren’t as clear?
- Pass protection is an unknown due to heavy use as a receiver. Stayed in to block on less than 20 percent of passing plays, and actually engaged with defenders on even fewer plays. Allowed five pressures on 98 snaps where he stayed in to pass block over two years.
- Off-field incident was about as bad as it can get. Poses PR nightmare and moral decision for teams.
Player comparison: Matt Forte, New York Jets
Although Mixon is a bit heavier, both have a similar build and overall athleticism. While they are on the bigger side of the frame spectrum and show power, both are more elusive than powerful as runners. Mixon also possesses exceptional receiving skills and has the potential to be an every-down back in the NFL.
Bottom line: Despite his larger frame, Mixon is clearly more elusive than powerful, but still shows the ability to break tackles with strength. He has room to improve his vision and patience as a runner. He was able to overcome it at times with pure athletic ability, but that likely won’t work as often in the NFL. Mixon is dynamic enough to be a game-changer as both a runner and receiver and has the potential to be an every-down running back. Strictly on the field, that would put him in the top-tier in this class and a potential first-round draft pick. However, his off-field incident raises concerns, from afar, whether he should be drafted at all, has reportedly caused some teams to remove him from draft boards completely, and will likely cause him to drop in the draft, at least to a degree.