Drafted by the Bengals in the second round (48th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft, the hype was real for Joe Mixon. Actually, the hype was taken too far, resulting in Mixon’s average draft position being in the fourth round of fantasy drafts.
He for sure didn’t return value there as he finished with 178 carries for 626 yards (3.5 YPC) and four touchdowns along with 30 catches for another 287 yards. Not what you expect out of your fourth-round pick is it?
Looking back at his talent and athleticism, Mixon’s draft profile compared him to Le’Veon Bell on NFL.com and Ezekiel Elliott on playerprofiler.com. With the height of 6’1″ and weighing up in the 220’s, Mixon showed the patience, ankle-breaking, and pass-catching ability of Bell with the 40-yard dash and the speed/burst of Elliott.
If you’re thinking Mixon is a bust/overrated just take a look at Bell’s rookie year and look at how many yards he averaged. He too averaged just 3.5 YPC.
Is Mixon going to produce like Bell or Elliott in year two? If he does, he will be a no-doubt bonafide RB1, if not the overall RB1. Bell had 2,215 total yards and 11 total touchdown. Elliott had 1,252 total yards and nine total touchdowns, all while serving a six-game suspension from weeks 10-15.
Sure you might still be nervous for Mixon in 2018 due to the offensive line, but they did trade for Cordy Glenn before the draft and then followed up by drafting center Billy Price out of The Ohio State in the first round.
Don’t let the presence of Giovani Bernard scare you either as his touches have been going down ever since his rookie year. Also, the fourth-round pick in Mark Walton is more of a backup to Bernard and may serve as the team’s punt returner. Walton will be at most the backup to Mixon once Bernard leaves in free agency by 2020. Although it could be sooner as Bernard only holds a $1.5M cap hit this year and a $750,000 hit for the 2019 season.
If Mixon is to get the true “bell-cow” carries that were expressed by director of player personnel Duke Tobin back at the end of February, then look for Mixon to be in the range of 250-275 carries along with 40-50 catches with a floor of 1,400 total yards.
Mixon is truly primed for a sophomore breakout season. If you’re able to get him at his current average draft position of 3.02, pull the trigger, because you got a solid RB2 with RB1 upside.