The Cleveland Browns were one of four teams to schedule a private meeting with Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon one day prior to his pro day. It marks the first time NFL teams have had the ability to speak with the former Oklahoma Sooner.
Mixon was not invited to the NFL Combine following the fallout from his punching of a female student, Amelia Molitor, while attending Oklahoma. He is essentially the stock photo for the league’s new rule surrounding the banning of players from participating in the Combine in the event they have misdemeanor or felony convictions involving domestic violence.1 The running back fractured multiple bones in the student’s face, but did not experience much in the way of blowback until video of the brutal event surfaced. He was one of several players to not be invited due to off-field conduct.
While the Browns were met by the Detroit Lions, Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints as teams who held private meetings with the running back, fans should feel good that no one from Berea said anything as tone deaf as Lions GM Bob Quinn who besmirched the league and it’s decision to keep Mixon out of the combine, saying “We come here to see the best college football players in college football… Him not being here, because of those issues, personally I don’t think that’s real fair because we have a lot of investigation that we want to do on him and to get him in one spot for all the teams would have been great.”
Mixon rushed for 1,274 yards on 187 carries last year as a third-year sophomore at Oklahoma. It is widely expected that Mixon will be a third- or fourth-round pick. As the running back class as a whole failed to wow many at the combine, however, he could use this Pro Day to springboard himself up draft boards. Given the issues that surround him, however, he’s also a player who could slide down the ranks much like Tyreek Hill did a season earlier, falling to the late fifth round before being selected by Kansas City. Given the position Dee Haslam has assumed within the Browns’ front office over the last two seasons, it would be very surprising to have a player like Mixon added to a team in dire need of positive publicity with a fan base that is dwindling by the day. Any team that will take a chance on him, however, will need to decide so through meetings like the ones that took place on Tuesday night much more so than watching him run and jump and catch footballs.
- Mixon was not convicted due to a plea deal, but the NFL was having none of it. [↩]