Should The Bengals Consider Drafting Joe Mixon?

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Jan 2, 2017; New Orleans , LA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon (25) runs the ball against Auburn Tigers defensive lineman Carl Lawson (55) in the third quarter of the 2017 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 2, 2017; New Orleans , LA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon (25) runs the ball against Auburn Tigers defensive lineman Carl Lawson (55) in the third quarter of the 2017 Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /
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Should The Bengals Consider Drafting Joe Mixon?
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports /

The Logistics of Drafting Mixon

Mixon will be one of the biggest human interest stories of the draft this year, but where will he go? Mel Kiper has said that Mixon “could be (drafted) in the late first and early second round.” He has also stated that if “Joe Mixon didn’t have that significant serious off-the-field issue, then he would be the number one running back in this draft.”

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This means that at number nine, drafting Mixon may be a reach. If the Bengals are truly interested in him, it would be advisable to trade down and collect draft picks while still getting their man. Cincinnati could conceivably still have a shot at drafting Mixon in the second round if another team doesn’t scoop him up.

The Bigger Picture?

Drafting Mixon would obviously come with a lot of risks. If the Bengals take him they would have an instant media circus surrounding their training camp. Bengals ownership would also be met with a lot of initial bad publicity drafting someone with such a public and brutal mark on their record. That being said, the sports world is filled with people who love second chances. Many athletes who have committed or been involved in terrible acts have come back and succeeded both on and off the field: Michael Vick, Kobe Bryant, and Ray Lewis to name a few. Sports fans love to see stories of redemption. If Mixon performed on the field and kept a clean record, he could even become an ambassador to preventing violence against women.

Bengals management hasn’t been shy in the past about acquiring players with troubled pasts. They still have Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict on their roster. Those two players certainly don’t have a sparkling record but have managed to find a home in Cincinnati nonetheless.

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The Bengals have a big decision on their hands. Mixon may be a valuable asset to the team, but is it worth bringing someone of questionable character into the locker room? Maybe that decision will be left to how far in the draft he falls. The Joe Mixon story is one of violence, intrigue, and perhaps someday, redemption. He will be a hot topic in the NFL this season, maybe even one that plays for the Bengals.

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