Maurice Jones-Drew compared the Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Mixon to arguably the best running back in the league, Christian McCaffrey.
Look around the Queen City and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anybody who isn’t excited to see what Joe Mixon will do in the upcoming season. Former star running back Maurice Jones-Drew joins the orange and black faithful in their excitement.
“Easy… For me, it’s Joe Mixon… he started to show his true promise. Now, we know Joe Mixon, coming out of Oklahoma, he was almost a 1,000-1,000 yard guy… He has ability just like Christian McCaffrey yet he’s 6’1 230 pounds.”
The three-time Pro Bowler brings up an interesting point and compares him to the player that many consider to be the best at the position, Christian McCaffrey. The Carolina Panthers star just reset the running back market, signing a 4-year, $64M contract.
Not to mention, he joined an exclusive club in the Madden world, becoming one of the few players to earn a 99 overall rating. While that fact doesn’t carry much weight on game days, it does illustrate just how highly regarded he is among the media.
Now, nobody out there is denying Mixon’s ability in the ground game. He’s eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing in each of the past two years despite playing on a struggling team with a below-average offensive line. However, in order to warrant the comparison to McCaffrey, he’ll need to get another aspect of his game going as well.
Joe Mixon’s ability in the passing game
As Jones-Drew alluded to, Mixon has all the ability in the world when it comes to the passing game and he proved it during his collegiate days. While playing for the Sooners, he hauled in 65 passes for nearly 900 yards and 9 touchdowns in just two years.
Since trading in his Oklahoma Crimson for Cincinnati stripes, however, he hasn’t been as effective in the air attack. The blame certainly doesn’t fall on the shoulders of Mixon, the gameplan has simply never involved this strength of his.
Moving forward, that could and should change in a big way. With Joe Burrow now the man under center, Zac Taylor and the rest of the coaching staff should do everything they can to get Mixon more involved on passing downs.
During Burrow’s Heisman winning campaign, he connected with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, his collegiate running back, for 55 receptions and 453 yards receiving. It’s clear that the LSU product enjoys utilizing running backs.
The pressure on Burrow’s shoulders is tremendous but thankfully, Mixon has the ability to relieve some of the weight, both on the ground and through the air. If the Bengals successfully implement him in the passing attack moving forward, the comparison to McCaffrey will become even more apparent.