It has been clear for several months how much the Bengals liked Mixon. And if any team was willing to absorb the public scrutiny that came with the pick, it was the Bengals, who stood by Adam Jones after his arrest and have a history of taking chances on troubled players. Mixon is perhaps the most polarizing figure in the draft. Many teams weren’t willing to touch him after a 2014 incident in which he punched a woman in the face. On the field, it’s hard to ignore Mixon’s talent. He can essentially be a “do anything” kind of player, whether it’s being a power runner, catching balls out of the backfield or returning kicks. The Bengals have acquired a talented player, but it came at a price, as he will be squarely in the public eye for years to come.
A lot to prove: Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Mixon has spent the last three years living under a microscope after the 2014 incident. That’s not going to change anytime soon. The Bengals are going to be heavily criticized for the pick due to the NFL’s increasing scrutiny regarding off-the-field incidents. Mixon will essentially have to be a model citizen in Cincinnati and prove that he is not the same person. The Bengals feel that he has moved past the incident. Now he has to prove that.
How he fits: The Bengals already have Jeremy Hill, who is a power runner, and Giovani Bernard, the more versatile back who excels at catching passes. So where does Mixon fit in? Hill would be one of the first to admit that he has not had the kind of season he would like, and he’s now going into a contract year. The team will fit Mixon into the plan in some way, whether that means he enters a rotation, or simply competes to win a starting job outright. Don’t be surprised to see him heavily used right away.
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