The 2017 NFL Draft kicks off in only eight days and all the draft rumors and speculation is coming full circle. One of the most polarizing players in the draft is Oklahoma’s running back Joe Mixon.
Mixon is recognized for the talent that he is, but he’s mostly scrutinized for a video that surfaced of him punching a female in the face. Although this video was extremely damning to Mixon’s character, there’s still teams that appear to be willing to give him a shot to prove his past is behind him and he’s ready to move on from his mistakes.
The Philadelphia Eagles name has come up in a recent report as one of those teams.
NBC’s Josh Norris has linked the Eagles to being a team that got the thumbs up from ownership to draft Mixon. Norris also pointed the finger at the Eagles as a team that would be Mixon’s likely destination.
Howard Eskin has reported that Joe Mixon is off the team’s draft board, but we should all know by now not to take these reports
Many fans alike are against this move, and rightfully so. What Mixon did was horrible and no one should be forced to go against their moral compass for any circumstance. Others are more willing to forgive and help a troubled young man move on from a horrible mistake and prove he is deserving of a second-chance. I’m just going to leave the character issues at that.
This article is not here to debate what’s right or wrong. I’m simply debating whether or not there could be actual truth to this report or the possiblites this could be a smoke screen.
First, I’ll discuss the possibility of the Eagles actually having interest in Mixon.
The Eagles have established themselves, prior to and after Chip Kelly, to be a franchise willing to take on character risks and offer second chances. They’ve done this with the likes of Jalen Mills despite his domestic violence allegation and they signed Michael Vick practically straight out of prison and so on. Completely ruling out the Eagles as a team that would take on the media heat a guy like Mixon would bring is just incorrect.
Mixon’s skill set is specifically what a west coast offense asks from their running backs. He’s a patient runner, has shown exceptional vision identifying running lanes, he’s a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield and he is an ideal fit to run the zone packages the offense asks of a running back.
Mixon’s talent on film is undeniable. Although he is a projection due to the fact he hasn’t carried a full workload like the other top running backs in the draft due to sharing a workload with another intriguing runner in Samaje Perine. Still many have faith in Mixon to be a three-down back and so do I.
Given the Eagles need at running back, there’s no possible way to rule out Mixon as a draft candidate for the team. But they could also be leaking interest in him as a smokescreen.
Norris specifically mentioned teams with interest in Mixon selecting him in the second-round. He also named two teams having interest in the Oklahoma star that select behind the Eagles in round two. Those teams would be the Minnesota Vikings and the Oakland Raiders.
Norris pointed to the Saints and Bengals as other potential suitors to be interested in Mixon and both teams pick ahead of the Eagles in round two (Bengals at pick No. 41 and the Saints at pick No. 42).
If teams really fear the Eagles as competition for Mixon’s services and want him perhaps more than they do, this could push a running back the Eagles actually covet to their pick. That running back could be Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara.
Kamara offers the same exact skill set as Mixon at less of the headache or PR nightmare. His numbers prove he isn’t as polished as Mixon coming out, but his potential is close to being on par with Mixon’s.
The Eagles have shown interest in Kamara talking to him at the NFL combine and having him in for a pre-draft visit. The Carolina Panthers along with the Vikings have shown the most interest in Kamara along with the Eagles.
I know what you’re thinking, how could our interest in Mixon be a smokescreen to land Kamara? A team behind the Eagles who covet Mixon could feel the need to be aggressive and move up for Mixon. This could play into the Eagles lap. Have a bidding war ongoing for Mixon, while Kamara slips through the cracks all the way to pick No. 43.
It’s a business. You’ll never know exactly what a team is thinking before the draft because it’s unpredictable. Anything can happen.
Do I personally believe the Eagles have interest in Mixon? Of course. Perfect scheme fit, they’ve proven they can handle the media heat from moves like these, and they have a need for a talented running back, which of course Mixon is. But the team isn’t just set on him either.
The Eagles have done extensive homework on basically all the running backs in this draft. They clearly feel the need to add to the position and aren’t just married to one prospect in particular. Kamara could be their target in round two and having teams expect them to go after Mixon could quietly put Kamara in their laps.
Again, the draft is only eight days away. We’ll see what’s real or just pure speculation. Just think about every possible scenario, because the Eagles are too.
Mandatory Photo Credits: Getty Images