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June 25, 2017

Mixon, The Player, Is Terrific

How a general manager views Joe Mixon depends on which of two videos he considers the more important. If it’s the one where the former Oklahoma star punches a young woman in the jaw, then he won’t even consider selecting the running back in the upcoming draft. If it’s the one where the 228-pounder runs through and away from would-be tacklers and catches the ball like a wide receiver, then that GM might be in position later this month to get an all-time steal.

I have no idea how Ted Thompson feels about Mixon, but the fact he brought him in for a visit recently suggests he hasn’t completely dismissed the idea of making the 20-year-old a Packer. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about that possibility. On the one hand, what Mixon did was repugnant.

On the other hand, everyone deserves a second chance, and hey, it’s not like I’m going to have to spend time with the guy. But I am sure of one thing – this young man is one heck of a player. In fact, I’m having a really difficult time recalling any college running back who was as perfect a fit in the Mike McCarthy offense.

As far as what McCarthy likes to do, Mixon checks off every box. He can run, catch and block. He reminds me in many ways of Ahman Green. I know that’s quite a thing to say, but that’s how impressive Mixon looks on tape.

As a runner, Mixon has the strength to break tackles and the speed to go the distance every time he touches the ball. The Packers haven’t had a weapon like that since Green in the early 2000s. As a receiver, he might be a more natural pass catcher than Ty Montgomery. He runs excellent routes and adjusts well to the ball. And as a blocker, he uses toughness and technique to consistently keep blitzers away from the quarterback.

The worst thing I can say about Mixon the player is he tends to dance a bit too much in the backfield. That leads to some negative plays. And while his vision doesn’t always appear to be 20/20, it’s not as if he needs glasses.

Simply put, Mixon is a first-round talent who almost certainly won’t be drafted that high due to very legitimate concerns about his off-the-field behavior. If he’s still there when Green Bay selects at 61, Thompson will have a difficult choice to make. There’s not a doubt in my mind that Mixon would be the best player on the board, but because of that horrifying video from 2014, being the best player might not matter.

I’ve studied Thompson for over 12 years, and I still have a difficult time figuring the guy out when it comes to what he’s willing to tolerate from a player. Character obviously matters to him, and yet he’s held onto defensive lineman Letroy Guion through an arrest and multiple suspensions. He also didn’t sever ties with outside linebacker Erik Walden after he was charged with domestic abuse in 2011. But he had a history with both of those players. He has no history with Mixon. Then again, if he wants to make history (a.k.a. win another Super Bowl) before he retires, rolling the dice on a game-changing running back might be the way to go.

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6 Responses “Mixon, The Player, Is Terrific”

  1. Joey
    April 1, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    In all of the press discussion of this issue, not one has pointed out that this young woman started the whole thing by pushing then slapping Mixon. This incident would not have happened if she had not attacked him first. She is not an innocent victim.

  2. April 1, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Amen Joe!!! Exactly!!! They are after his future fortune to make it go away. Leave the guy alone. She started it. Terrible people.

  3. Nerd
    April 1, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    She called the dude the N-word. Doesn’t justify what he did, but I look at it as kind of a snap reaction type deal. The dude did get counseling, but as a pro, you have to know people are gonna be poking you with a stick. You have to be able to walk away.

    Bear in mind what it’s like on college campuses nowadays. In the old days, “undercover informants” would just plant weed on you if you were an activist or somehow involved in creating positive change. Nowadays, they make false accusations about you.

    This wasn’t a false accusation, and no one has ever claimed it to be. But let’s put it in context. Dude played for two more years and as far as I know, was without incident. Would he make it in the fish bowl of Green Bay? That’s for Ted to decide. IF Mixon drops to 61. And that’s a big IF.

  4. Thorny
    April 2, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Character can’t be defined by a singular moment good or bad in one’s life but often is. Character is what you are on a consistent basis. Mixon is no more a bad guy than the Green Bay Packers are Super Bowl Champions. Both did something ONCE.

    Now, you can’t excuse punching a woman. Clearly, that’s a societal line you don’t cross but it was a singular event.

    I’m all for adding a talent like this kid. Sure, there’ll be a bunch of backlash but the truth is next to none of these guys are saints. Just an illusion many cling to. Guion very well may not even be close to the worst character guy on the team. He’s just been caught and publicized.

    Tyreek Hill was a boon to the Chiefs and his issues will fade as he walks the straight and narrow. Same thing will happen for Mixon in time for most. Some will never let it go.

    This guy will help us. He doesn’t seem likely to be a recurring problem. How do you judge people is the litmus. Surprised at the pass he’s gotten in the few comments. Expecting some harsh replies here shortly.

  5. TJV
    April 2, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Whenever the issue of adding a player like Mixon comes up I think of the phrase, “Packer people” and how some Packers fans buy into the notion that the Packers have a higher moral standard for their players than other teams. While the Packers aren’t the Raiders of the past in seemingly seeking out malcontents and criminals, they are in the mainstream of NFL teams. Bringing Mixon in was Thompson and his staff doing their jobs. If their research and analysis of their interviews with him lead them to believe that incident was a “one off”, they should draft him where his talent puts him on their board. My guess is it’s a moot point because I don’t think Thompson is going to draft any RB in the first round and – again just a guess – Mixon will be gone by pick #61, because of his talent. It’s allegedly a deep draft at RB so Thompson likely won’t reach for one in the first round.

  6. Joe in Madison
    April 3, 2017 at 10:32 am

    To me it all depends on what kind of behind the scenes reports the Packers are getting. Was he a problem with his coaches and teammates? Have there been other off the field problems? These are things we probably won’t ever know but it looks like the Packers are doing their due diligence on this guy.

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