Joe Mixon Reportedly Will Declare for 2017 NFL Draft: Latest Comments, Reaction

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2017

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02: Running back Joe Mixon #25 of the Oklahoma Sooners dives for a touchdown during their victory in the Sugar Bowl against the Auburn Tigers on January 2, 2017 at The Superdome  in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jackson Laizure)
Jackson Laizure/Getty Images

Joe Mixon's controversial career at Oklahoma is over. The redshirt sophomore running back will reportedly forgo his last two years of eligibility and enter the 2017 NFL draft.

Brooke Pryor of The Oklahoman and Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the news Thursday.

Jake Trotter of ESPN.com said the running back told him on the phone he received a first-round grade.

Nixon released a statement on his decision via Twitter: 

Mixon, 20, rushed for 1,274 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016. He was the team leader in rushing while splitting time with Samaje Perine, flashing an explosive skill set that makes him one of the most talented runners in the 2017 class.

However, Mixon will enter the draft with a host of character concerns. His 2014 arrest for punching a female student resurfaced in national headlines after video of the incident became public in December.

"Honestly, it really don't matter what she did that night. It's all on me," Mixon told reporters at a news conference Dec. 23. "The reason why I'm in this position right now. I take full responsibility on what happened that night. It's never OK to hit a woman—never. I will preach that to anybody."

Mixon was also involved in a November altercation with a parking attendant, who alleged the running back threw a ticket at him after Mixon was cited. The school suspended him for a Nov. 3 game against Iowa State. Oklahoma University press secretary Corbin Wallace told TMZ earlier this week the case was closed and Mixon would not be charged.

The Sooners star's draft status is one of the most intriguing storylines heading into April. He is, by all accounts, a first-round talent who carried a light workload and has the physical skills to be a potential star. Given the increased spotlight on domestic violence and violence against women—particularly in the NFL—it's unclear whether Mixon will be drafted at all, however.

Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report spoke to various NFL sources who said no team will select Mixon. Neither ESPN.com's Todd McShay nor CBSSports.com lists him in their draft rankings. 

"He's undraftable now. There is no team that can use a pick on him [in this draft]," a team official told Bleacher Report's Matt Miller.

The video is reminiscent of the one showing Ray Rice striking his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator. The Baltimore Ravens released Rice, and the controversy surrounding him—particularly, the NFL's botched handling of the case—has kept him out of the league despite a productive career to that point.

It's unlikely Mixon will get through the draft process without a workout, but teams will be more concerned with his actions over the next few months than any physical skills he displays in showcases or at the NFL Scouting Combine.

           

Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

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