As good a job as Howie Roseman has done adding wide receivers, we all know the Eagles must invest a pick in April’s draft on a running back. Carson Wentz needs someone to hand the ball to as much as throw it to.
LSU’s Leonard Fournette appears out of their range at pick 14. Perhaps the Eagles will take FSU’s Dalvin Cook, who visited here last week. Perhaps they trade down for the exciting Christian McCaffrey of Stanford. Or perhaps they just wait until later rounds.
There is one more name among the elite college backs. But he certainly won’t be a first-rounder. And the Eagles may have already removed him from their board.
I’m talking Joe Mixon, of course. Mixon is the muscular, agile runner from Oklahoma whose speed-size combo draws comparisons to Le'Veon Bell. He’s also the young man who slugged a young woman in the head at a restaurant in 2014. The punch broke several bones and left the woman needing her jaw wired shut.
The episode, like Ray Rice’s domestic assault, was captured on surveillance video.It’s shocking. Despicable. Any adjective you want to use. It also has prompted many NFL teams to foreswear interest in Mixon. That’s not surprising.
Like you, I’ve never met Mixon. I don’t know if he’s still a creep or a bully, as that video indicates. Nor do I know if that 17-year-old boy has matured and felt remorse over the past two and a half years. But I’d want to find out.
If I were an NFL GM, I would talk to Mixon’s coaches, teachers and counselors to learn who he is today. I would find ex-girlfriends and dorm mates who know him well. And, of course, I would sit with Mixon and ask: Why did you do it? What have you learned? Where are you now?
Maybe Mixon is still a crumb. If so, I’d walk away. But maybe that angry teen has evolved over several years.
Most likely, Mixon will end up being picked in the second or third round. The NFL team selecting him faces an immediate image crisis. That horrific video will play on a loop on local TV, and the GM will be asked why he excuses violence against women.
That’s understandable. But if we really are a country of second chances, the decision on Mixon should be based on whether he deserves one, rather than a team’s fear of a PR nightmare.
The Eagles have been down this road. No one was more sullied than Mike Vick coming in. But while Vick’s tenure as a QB was spotty, he must get credit for living up to his rehabilitation requirements. Last year, the Eagles drafted Wendell Smallwood and Jalen Mills despite major character issues. Both contributed and stayed clean.
Does Mixon deserve consideration? Only if he truly understands the evil of what he did those years ago. Only if he’s matured into a trustworthy 20-year-old. Only if you can believe he will never do it again.
That’s a lot of ifs.
But if I were Roseman, I’d ask the questions.