Oakland Raiders 2017 NFL Draft Prospect: RB Joe Mixon

Nov 12, 2016; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon (25) is seen on the field before action against the Baylor Bears prior to the game at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 12, 2016; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon (25) is seen on the field before action against the Baylor Bears prior to the game at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports /

Joe Mixon is the most controversial player in the 2017 NFL Draft, but on the field, he is one of the best running backs in the class.

After the Oakland Raiders let Latavius Murray walk in free agency, they were left with an opening at the running back position. Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of buzz about Marshawn Lynch coming out of retirement to join his hometown team.

Although Marshawn joining the Silver and Black feels likely at this point, it’s not a sure thing quite yet. Adding a player of his status would solidify the backfield and create an excellent trio alongside Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.

But depending on what happens with Lynch, the Raiders may need to draft a running back. Or even if they do sign Marshawn, if Mixon falls due to his off-field incident, there will come a point where he could be considered — such as in the third or fourth round.

Before we continue, let me start off by saying that Mixon’s past transgressions absolutely should be taken into account when drafting him. What Mixon did was flat out cowardly and wrong. I am in no way trying to defend his actions. But Mixon the football player is a special talent.

Reggie McKenzie is doing his due diligence as well, as the team has met with Mixon. Even so, considering Mark Davis’ stance on domestic violence, most would find any scenario in which Mixion is drafted difficult to believe.

Although drafting Mixon would be a P.R. nightmare for the Raiders, I do believe that putting him in a locker room with Derek Carr and Khalil Mack has the possibility of making a positive impact on Mixon’s NFL career. Being able to find Mixon on day two of the draft would provide great value, and it is probably something that Reggie McKenzie has had conversations about with Mark Davis.

Let’s take a closer look at Mixon on the field.


In 25 career games (9 starts) with the Oklahoma Sooners, Mixon carried the ball 300 times for 2,027 yards (6.75 yards per carry), had 28 total touchdowns, and also added 65 receptions for 894 yards for an average of 13.75 yards per catch.

Although Mixon was used sparingly in 2015, his 2016 season is where the bulk of his production came from. For the 2016 season, Mixon was named First-Team All Big 12, while setting OU’s record for all-purpose yards in one season (2,331) and all-purpose yards per game (194.3), and various other school records in the process.


Mixon has an NFL running back-esque stature. Standing at 6’1″ and 226 lbs., Mixon appears to have a physique that would translate into an every down back in the NFL.

Considering Mixon’s size, his speed is what really gets eyebrows raising. Because of his non-invitation to the NFL combine, Mixon had to opt for his pro day, and he did not disappoint. Mixon put up 21 reps on the bench press and also ran a 40-yard dash in the mid-4.4’s. Mixon possesses a rare combination of both size and speed.


When evaluating Mixon’s football ability, it’s clear to see that he possesses many strengths. From his pure running back traits to his ability to be able to catch balls out of the backfield, there are many different ways to utilize his skillset.

Lets start off with his Le’Veon Bell-like approach to the game. Mixon appears to have supreme patience when running the ball. He finds the hole, and explodes into the next level of the defense. His elite ability to shift and shake defenders is by far the best in this years draft.

Along with able running ability, Mixon has the skill to catch balls out of the backfield at an effortless level. While the Raiders do have capable backs who possess a receiving threat, Mixon’s receiving ability might be a whole notch higher than any current Raiders running back.

We could go on and on about Mixon’s strengths, but I just wanted to close it out talking about his home-run ability. Once Mixon gets past the first level of the defense, you can clearly see his breakaway speed and vision for where the big play lies.

These kinds of traits are what set Mixon apart from the other running backs in this class.


While Mixon has all of the necessary tools to succeed on the next level, he does possess some weaknesses. If you put aside his domestic violence issues, Mixon has been accused of having questionable character. That alone will probably scare off half of the teams in the NFL.

Mixon has also been knocked for being a bit too patient when running the ball, which leads to him trying to do too much, which eventually turns into negative plays for the offense.

Along with trying to do too much at times, Mixon has also been criticized for dancing around while trying to juke defenders. This has led his running lanes to narrow down on him, which then turned into closed holes, and nowhere for him to run.

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In the end, you can have your moral objections about Joe Mixon, and that is perfectly fine. You will have to come to grips though that, regardless of morals, Mixon will be drafted, whether you like it or not. He is just too talented to be left on the board for any team.

Whoever does draft him better hope they have a strong locker room core to keep Mixon in check if he ever causes any issues within the confines of the team. Although he possesses first round talent, he will probably end up going somewhere in the third round. If he keeps his head on straight, he will be a terror for whoever does have to face him.