2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Joe Mixon

  • Joe Mixon, 6-1/226

  • Running Back

  • Oklahoma

  • Joe Mixon Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Explosive
  • Elusive; has moves in the open field to dodge blockers
  • Tremendous open-field runner
  • Real burst; can break off long runs on any carry
  • Threat to score on any carry
  • Rare acceleration
  • Has enough strength to pick up yards after contact
  • Excellent vision
  • Great feet
  • Cutting ability
  • Good build and size
  • Can run away from defensive backs when he gets in the open field
  • Finishes runs well
  • Burst to the hole
  • Has great straight-line speed to pull away from defenders
  • Shiftiness; will juke defenders
  • Very elusive runner
  • Receiving ability
  • Good route-runner
  • Soft hands
  • Willing blocker in blitz pickup, with potential to be very good
  • Has a nose for the end zone
  • Wears down defenses
  • Keeps legs going after contact
  • Runs well in the second half
  • Capable of controlling games
  • Runs well in the second half
  • Good fit for a zone-blocking system
  • Perfect fit for a man-blocking system
  • Durable
  • Very little wear-and-tear from college
  • Upside
  • Ready to contribute immediately

  • Weaknesses:
  • Can run upright
  • Major off-the-field issues
  • History of domestic violence
  • Anger management issues
  • Multiple suspensions in college
  • Good speed, but not elite
  • Will have to learn NFL blitz protection

  • Summary: Mixon is one of the most controversial prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft. Sources from across the NFL have said that Mixon has a first-round skill set with excellent tape, but a number of teams automatically removed Mixon from their draft board because of his off-the-field issues.

    The most famous incident stems from 2014 when Mixon punched a woman, which was caught on video tape. The woman suffered four facial bones broken from Mixon’s assault, and a plea deal allowed him to avoid jail time. The incident also caused him to be suspended from the Oklahoma program for the 2014 season. Mixon also reportedly intimated a female parking attendant after she gave him a ticket. Mixon confronted her, cussed at her, tore the ticket up before throwing it in her face, and inched toward the officer with his car to intimidate her. The parking-attendant issue caused Mixon to be suspended for a game by Oklahoma. There is allegedly another incident with a woman at a bar that teams are looking into.

    As a redshirt freshman in 2015, Mixon averaged 6.7 yards per carry for 753 yards with seven touchdowns. He had 28 receptions for 356 yards with four scores as well. Mixon became Oklahoma’s featured runner as a redshirt sophomore, averaging of seven yards per carry (168 carries) for 1,183 yards with eight touchdowns while sharing carries with Samaje Perine. Mixon also was a receiving weapon with 32 receptions for 449 yards with five touchdowns.

    As a runner, Mixon is a special back. He has a real burst to hit the hole and acceleration to get downfield. Mixon has good balance and patience that allow him to flow to the line before darting downfield. In the open field, Mixon is special. He is very elusive with quick feet to juke defenders and cut away from them. He sets up blocks and uses his size to pick up yards after contact. Mixon will power through arm tackles, as his legs don’t go dead on contact. With his burst, Mixon is a dangerous threat to break runs downfield. He can run a little upright because of his height, but he does better staying behind his pads as he’s heading toward the line of scrimmage before getting higher as he breaks downfield.

    Mixon is a superb prospect as a receiving back. He runs excellent routes to get open and has superb hands. Mixon will even makes juggling, difficult catches as he has soft hands to control the football. He is a real threat to make big plays in the passing game by running routes vertically down the sideline. With his skills as a receiver, Mixon could line up in the slot and should be a mismatch weapon who will be very valuable on third downs as an outlet receiver who can move the chains. Mixon has blocking potential for the NFL, but all college backs have a learning process for handling NFL pass-rushers.

    During the 2017 NFL Draft, Mixon will probably end up going in Round 2. There is a chance he could sneak into the first round, or he could slip to the third round, but most likely, he will be a second-round pick. Mixon has Pro Bowl potential and should be a three-down starter early in his NFL career.

    Player Comparison: Arian Foster. In terms of running style, there wasn’t an obvious comparison for Mixon; however, there were moments where he reminded me of Foster (6-1, 227). They are identical in size with a rare combination of size, athleticism, quickness, cutting ability, and versatility. Foster was a very good receiver like Mixon, too. They also both have good, though not elite, speed, and both can run upright at times. As a runner, Mixon could be a bit faster where as Foster was smoother. Another similarity is that Foster had some off-the-field issues to manage just as Mixon does.

    NFL Matches: Indianapolis, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Green Bay, New York Giants, Detroit, New York Jets, Carolina and Minnesota

    There are a lot of teams that could take Mixon. In the second round, a number of franchises could consider taking a running back. The Jets signed Matt Forte, but the skilled veteran is aging. Mixon could make a big difference for whoever is the team’s next starting quarterback after Josh McCown in Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty.

    Adding Mixon to Cam Newton could be a dynamic combination of running ability for the Panthers. Jonathan Stewart recently turned 30 and has had durability throughout his career. If Mixon gets to one of the Panthers’ second-round picks, he could be too good to pass up if they don’t take a running back in Round 1.

    There are a lot of potential landing spots for Mixon in the middle of the second round. The Colts, Eagles and Ravens all need long-term starting running backs. Of those three, the Colts are probably the least likely to take a tailback because of the vast needs on the defensive side of the ball and Mixon’s off-the-field issues. Philadelphia with Doug Pederson’s offense would be a good fit for Mixon. Baltimore has tried a few different runners, but needs a lead back to carry its ground game. Tampa Bay could consider taking Mixon given Doug Martin’s situation and his uncertain future with the team.

    In the NFC North, the Packers lost Eddie Lacy this offseason, and they will need a starting running back. Mixon would add a dynamic presence to Green Bay’s offense. The Lions had the 30th-ranked rushing offense in 2016, while Ameer Abdullah hasn’t panned out thus far. The Vikings need a replacement for Adrian Peterson, and Mixon is a lot more talented than Latavius Murray.

    The Giants fielded the 29th-ranked rushing offense in 2016 and badly need some talent in the backfield. Mixon would bring a play-making presence to the team’s backfield.


    2017 NFL Mock Draft: Charlie’s | Walt’s

    2017 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings

    2017 NFL Draft Scouting Reports

    Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

    2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

    NFL Picks - Feb. 12