PHOENIX -- Oklahoma Running back Joe Mixon is a fine athlete with tons of potential but he also has a major problem in that he struck a woman during an altercation in 2014 and a tape of the incident was released last December. Now that he has declared for the NFL draft, professional teams will soon have to decide if the player’s potential outweighs his very public evidence of battery against a woman.
The Miami Dolphins are one team that has already made its decision on Mixon.
I’ve been told by multiple people Mixon will not be drafted by Miami. He may well be in the NFL in 2017 but it won’t be with the Dolphins.
“Zero percent chance,” one person with knowledge of the team’s thinking said recently.
Obviously, other teams are able to come to their own conclusions and decisions on Mixon. It will be up to them to also decide whether he deserves to be drafted or, more accurately, is worth the risk.
Sports Illustrated has reported that at the Senior Bowl gathering of team general managers, coaches and other personnel people there was a “sentiment that Mixon could follow the model set by Tyreek Hill, who was picked in the fifth round by the Chiefs [in 2016] because the Kansas City organization felt they did their diligence and had a system in place to support Hill.”
Hill, you may recall, pleaded guilty to felony domestic violence and battery by strangulation in August 2015 on the mother of his child. And while he dropped to the fifth round, the Chiefs, with the approval of owner Lamar Hunt and after much background work, decided to spend a draft pick on the Hill.
The Chiefs’ unpopular decision was rewarded when Hill, an electrifying return specialist, was one of the team’s biggest playmakers in 2016 and was selected to the Pro Bowl.
It is unclear if Mixon is that type of rare talent but there is little doubt he’s got ability. He averaged 6.8 yards per carry on 110 carries for the Sooners in 2016.
But with that ability comes that troubling history that seemingly looms larger than his accomplishments.
That history includes a 2016 incident in which Mixon confronted a female parking attendant after she ticketed his vehicle. According to the incident report, Mixon tore the citation into pieces and threw them at the attendant, the paper allegedly hitting her in the face. He then "inched at the officer" with his vehicle "to intimidate the officer."
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops suspended Mixon for one game because of the incident.
The much more troubling incident, however, came in July 2014 when Mixon followed a woman and her friend into a Norman, Oklahoma sandwich shop and had a violent confrontation with the pair. During that confrontation Amelia Molitor pushed the 6-1, 226-pound Mixon and he responded by punching her so hard that it broke bones in her jaw and cheekbone.
The video embedded in this story was released after a prolonged legal battle. Mixon was charged with a misdemeanor assault and entered what is known as an Alford plea in which the defendant asserts innocence but admits that the evidence the prosecution can present would likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The violent incident also got Mixon barred from the NFL combine because the NFL has cracked down on allowing violent offenders to participate at the combine. Mixon did participate at the Oklahoma pro day in front of multiple teams that attended.
The Dolphins were represented at the Oklahoma pro day but whatever Mixon ran, whatever his vertical leap, however smooth he might have appeared running or catching the football, those skills will not be coming to Miami because the team has decided it wants to add a certain type of player to represent the team.
Players that hit woman apparently aren’t that type.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero