We shouldn’t be too surprised the Cincinnati Bengals selected Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who fell in the draft because he punched a woman in 2014.
The Bengals are no strangers to collecting players who come into the league with red flags. Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones come to mind. They’ll be joined by Mixon, who was the most controversial player in this draft. The Bengals took Mixon in the second round.
In July 2014, Mixon punched Amelia Molitor in the face and Oklahoma suspended him for the season. The story was revived in 2016 when the video of the incident was released. As Ray Rice can attest, when video like that is made public, it draws a lot more attention.
Mixon was considered by many to be the best all-around running back in the draft. He settled a civil suit with Molitor a few days before the draft, along with statements from each of them that included Molitor saying they “both could have handled things differently.” Mixon apologized in a series of media interviews leading up to the draft. He still wasn’t drafted in the first round. ESPN’s Adam Schefter said about four teams in the entire NFL were considering taking Mixon.
There’s no question about Mixon’s talent. He’s a fast, powerful runner who is also excellent as a receiver. The Bengals needed to upgrade from Jeremy Hill, another player with red flags coming out of college drafted by Cincinnati. Hill hasn’t worked out, and now the Bengals will hope Mixon can offer an improvement.
The Bengals have an intriguing set of skill-position players. A.J. Green is a great No. 1 receiver. Tyler Eifert is a fine tight end when healthy. In the first round, the Bengals took speedster receiver John Ross. Then they added to their running game by taking Mixon.
Of course, the selection of Mixon is about way more than football. The Bengals will have to answer to why they took him despite the tape of him punching a woman. They’re also used to answering about taking on players with troubled pasts.
More NFL draft coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• Dan Wetzel: Why more players will follow the lead of Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette
• Grading every pick: Who did the best in Round 1?
• Falcons’ pick wins draft night with emotional, expletive-laden interview
• Watson’s heartwarming moment after being drafted
• Raiders take risk, pick CB at center of rape investigation
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