Running Back #25
RS Sophomore 6’1″ 226
- 2016 All Big 12 Selection
- Averaged over seven yards per carry
- Three down back
- Natural pass catcher
- Good route runner
- Strong stiff arm
- Smooth hips in and out of cuts
- Patient runner. Sometimes too much.
- Willing pass protector
- Major off the field concerns
- Doesn’t create his own space
- Runs tall at times
Joe Mixon is one of the most captivating NFL prospects going into the 2017 NFL Draft. While his immense talent and capability is unquestioned, his off the field concerns have removed him from some team’s draft boards all together. As widely reported, a video surfaced of Mixon in 2014 hitting a woman with a closed fist. With domestic violence being a key talking point, and is certainly an issue the NFL has been trying to rectify, it will be interesting to see where exactly Mixon goes and what team is willing to give him an opportunity to be their franchise back. For the purposes of this report I will tell you only about his on the field strengths and weaknesses as NFL teams will have to decide on their own if he’s worth the risk wherever he may fall.
In a talented running back class, Mixon might have the most upside of any back. He is smooth in and out of his cuts and has the size and power to lower his pad level to pick up those difficult yards. An extremely patient runner, Mixon allows his blocks to get set before taking the ball up the field. I highlighted a couple of plays in which this patience is put on full display.
The below clip might be my favorite run by Mixon, though it eventually came back on a holding call. You see his patience, the strength and his jump cuts in and out beaks that make him such an elusive runner.
Mixon also has one of the best stiff arms in all of college football. Notice how he transitions to the opposite side of the filed and puts the football in his outside hand, keeping his inside arm free to attack the defender.
What truly separates Mixon from the other backs in this years class, and most other running back prospects for that matter, is his pass catching and route running. Mixon is a natural pass catcher and is an exceptional route runner out of the backfield. And while there are many clips that show you Mixon’s pass catching ability in open space, the below clips is an instance of him clearing the defensive line and putting a move on a back, making the catch and getting up the field. An NFL play that every offense will be able to utilize.
Mixon consistently beats linebackers in the passing game and should be able to continue to do so at the next level. His route running is elite which combined with his natural pass catching ability makes him a true threat in the passing game.
The final clip has a great angle showing Mixon beating a defensive back one on one for a touchdown. Mixon once again shows a smooth transition in and out of his breaks and finishes with an easy reception for the score.
Games Watched: Texas Tech 2016 & 2015, Baylor 2016, TCU 2016, West Virginia 2016, Aubrun 2016
Round Value: First Round
Player Comparison: Le’veon Bell
Like Bell, Mixon is a bigger back who shows both patience and vision. While neither player shows elite game speed they are more then effective in the passing game and both are willing blockers. While Mixon’s off the filed concerns have been highlighted, Bell had questions entering the NFL as well which caused him to fall in the draft.