Just a couple days after the New England Patriots made a superfluous PR move to say they will not be drafting troubled Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, the Green Bay Packers took a step in another direction.
Mixon has turned off more teams than just New England with his numerous domestic violence incidents, including video released late last year of him striking a female Oklahoma student in a restaurant. The Packers met with Mixon this past week, joining the Lions, Raiders, Bengals, Broncos, Saints, Chargers and other teams that have expressed some interest according to various reports.
It would not be the first time Green Bay has taken a chance on a player with a troubled past. One recent example was Colt Lyerla, an Oregon tight end who had a history of drug abuse and quitting his team in college. Lyerla never made it to the final 53-man roster after being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Other notable players with character issues that spent time in Green Bay during the Ted Thompson reign have included Koren Robinson, Johnny Jolly and Letroy Guion. Robinson caught one touchdown playing in parts of two seasons. Jolly enjoyed three productive seasons separated by a three year suspension, and Guion has now been suspended twice in the last three years for at least three games. Guion has had more tackles in three years with Green Bay than he did in six with Minnesota prior, but missing the first four games of 2017 with a performance enhancing drug suspension may wear on the Packers’ patience with him.
The main difference between Mixon and all of these players is what his on-field value may bring to the table. Although Lyerla drew comparisons to Rob Gronkowski at times and certainly Jolly and Guion have been lauded for their disruptive ability, Mixon is a first-round talent. His character issues and the ensuing media storm that would accompany a first-round investment will most definitely drop his stock out of that round, but experts tend to think he could be a second-day pick.
Still, that is a much higher investment than Lyerla, Jolly, Guion or Robinson, which is why this situation is so different from those. The Packers backfield is in need of a depth infusion, and a player like Mixon drawing Le’Veon Bell comparisons is tempting to any GM. Any team that drafts Mixon knows they draft a media microscope along with him, but if the Packers are bringing him in for an individual workout, they must be having conversations if the risk just might pay off.
What are your thoughts on adding Joe Mixon? What is the line for you on “character issues” for a player? Let me know in the comments.