Photo of Joe Mixon
Drafted By: Bengals
  • Round 2
  • Pick 16
  • Overall 48
6.05 ?

Draft Analysis:

"Cincinnati's had a history of Marvin Lewis and his guys opening their arms up and saying we can handle those kind of guys, we have the right infrastructure. Personally, if I'm a GM, he's not on my board. As soon as I see that video, he's off. But if you want to hear about the football player, I'll tell you what he is. The football player is a top-15 pick in any draft. ... What I'm trying to say is he's pretty darn special as a football player." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'1" Height
  • 226LBS. Weight


Over the past three years, Mixon's off-field issues have overshadowed his on-field accomplishments. Named the No. 1 running back recruit in the country by some services, Mixon expected to make an instant impact. He ran afoul of the law in July 2014, however, by punching a female student after she shoved him. Mixon was suspended for the season, and more than two years later video of the incident was released, forcing him to publically apologize. Mixon was also suspended for one game this fall for disrespecting a parking attendant after receiving a ticket. He did receive first-team All-Big 12 honors for his on-field play, rushing for 1,274 yards, averaging nearly seven yards per rush with 10 touchdowns. He also ranked in the top five nationally with 194 all-purpose yards per game (37-538, 5 TDs receiving; 494 yards, TD on kick returns). In 2015, Mixon came on the scene as a rusher (753 yards, seven TD) and receiver (28-356, four TDs).



Outstanding burst to go from first level to third level. Goes from glide to burst quickly and can hit chunk plays between tackles and around corners. Can go from elusive to banger when he needs to. Will drop the pads and drive through tacklers in short yardage spots. Flashy feet for his size. Can jump-cut around defenders in tight quarters. Smooth hips help him swivel around the second and third levels. Able to show and go leaving linebackers diving as he escapes out of the side door. Strong stiff-arm helps would-be tacklers catch grass stains. Can turn the corner and create a straightaway to the end zone. Was Big 12 leader in percentage of explosive carries (15-plus yards) at 11.9 percent. True three-down back. Devastating pass catching option. Excellent route runner creating immediate separation. Soft hands to make the easy catch and the one-hander. Will step in and square up his blocking responsibilities in pass game.


Some in scouting community concerned with character beyond his domestic violence incident. Inconsistent as inside runner. Can be too patient at times. Looks for wide-open points of entry before he hits the gas. Can be nonchalant approaching line of scrimmage. Dances downhill allowing running lanes to become creases. Feet lag behind when headed into congestion and will get loose with his rush track inviting tacklers a chance to get a hand on him. Lacks creativity in initial stages of his run at times. Vision is just average. Fails to see backside cuts developing on stretch plays. Hops into his downhill cuts rather than a crisp plant-and-go.

Draft Projection

Round 2-3

Sources Tell Us

"I'm not going to talk about any character issue because every team has to go through and make their own decisions. As a player, he can play all three downs but he's not going to create for himself like Fournette or Cook. But he can also have an impact on the passing game that they can't have. I see him as a top-40 player. Obviously, he won't go there." -- NFC North area scout

NFL Comparison

Le'Veon Bell

Bottom Line

I've decided to give Joe Mixon a draft grade based on his talent and expected output if given a chance as an NFL running back. His draft slot will likely be impacted by his domestic violence issue. Mixon has the talent to be an every-down, all-day running back with the potential to take over a game on the ground or through the air. Life against weaker Big 12 defenses has created a more relaxed rushing approach for Mixon who will have to play at a faster pace as an NFL back. Mixon's vision is just average and he could struggle to create for himself in front of a subpar offensive line; however, he can play in any rushing scheme and can be moved all over the field as a matchup option.
-Lance Zierlein
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-9.00 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl to All-Pro Ability
6.50-6.99 Good NFL Starter with Pro Bowl Potential
6.00-6.49 Chance to become good NFL starter
5.70-5.99 Could become early NFL starter
5.30-5.69 Backup or eventual starter
5.15-5.29 Developmental prospect or special teams potential
5.01-5.14 Back end of the roster
5.00 50/50 Chance of making the roster