When it comes down to talent, the Cincinnati Bengals need the best player available at each position. Joe Mixon could easily be that draft choice.
In a few hours, the lingering questions will be answered. No longer will the Bengals be shrouded in mystery and secrecy. The 2017 NFL Draft will finally reveal who Cincinnati will take at the No. 9 spot. If they trade up, AJ McCarron is the bait. But, who would be worthy of letting him go? Essentially, this draft will turn into a decision on the backfield situation. Joe Mixon could be basking on the shores of the Queen City.
Why should the Bengals take Mixon? The main issues are already out there. His off-field antics have made national headlines and give him an upfront tarnish. But, will that keep the Bengals away from him as a weapon for the struggling run game? Maybe that isn’t the right phrase to use. Cincy’s numbers on the ground were relatively the same last year as they were in 2015. But, the effectiveness of Jeremy Hill is something to be concerned about.
Bringing Mixon into the fold will be a stretch because of his background. Yet, the Bengals are known for having a soft heart for the hard-luck cases. The roster has a couple of standouts who have had their time in the NFL spotlight with Roger Goodell. Vontaze Burfict’s act garnered a meeting with the Big Guy. Goodell has yet to make a decision on Adam Jones after his hotel incident. But, it’s coming. Just wait and see.
Give Him A Chance
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Mixon isn’t going to be one of those undrafted players sitting at home with a cold pizza and jug of Mountain Dew. He’ll be snatched up by some team that appreciates his talents. The Bengals have already opened the gates of PBS to talk with him. Even though Mixon is on the obligatory NFL tour, the Bengals could have opted out. But, the fact that he paid a visit to Cincinnati could be a foreshadowing of what’s to come.
"“If it hadn’t been for the serious off the field issue we would be looking at probably the first running back taken if not, at worst, the second running back taken and probably an early to mid-first-round pick,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper explained per The Cincinnati Enquirer. “Now you’re thinking more second round.”"
The young man made a mistake that will stay with him for the rest of his life. But, is that any reason to overlook his abilities on the football field? Bengals fans are ready (actually hungry, ravenous) for a running back that can give consistent numbers. His actions will certainly have an impact on where he’s taken in the draft. But, he will be able to contribute immediately. If Marvin Lewis is trying to hold his job, he’ll get a little lax on the rookies not playing routine.
If the young lady that he assaulted is able to forgive him, the Bengals should be willing to adhere to the same principles.
Mixon would bring drive and raw talent to the Bengals that hasn’t been seen in a while. Hill had that zeal in 2014. But, he hasn’t shown it consistently since then. Mixon would be able to do what few Bengals running backs have done. He runs angry. Corey Dillon had a permanent chip on his shoulder. Cedric Benson had to prove he was better than Dillon. Remember James Brooks? After being claimed from the Bolts, he had to prove he was more than a special teams player (memories of Rex Burkhead). At 180 pounds, he was thought to be too small.
After Mixon is squared away, Joe will have to prove the hype wasn’t all hot air. But, if the Bengals are willing to take a chance on him, they could be the benefactors of a hungry young man. That could easily translate into the glide and burst they need for a 1,000-yard rusher.