Joe Mixon

Peter King On Butler, Saints, Mixon, Giants

Someone familiar with the Saints‘ thinking believes they are leaning towards keeping their first three picks rather than using them to acquire Malcolm Butler from the Patriots, Peter King of The MMQB writes. The team remains interested in the cornerback, but they believe that there are a number of players ranked between No. 25 and 75 on their board that can contribute immediately. The thought of trading one or more picks for Butler in addition to giving him a high-priced deal is not as attractive as it once was for New Orleans. The Saints presently own five picks in the first three rounds: Nos. 11, 32, 42, 76, and 103.

Here’s more from King:

  • Joe Mixon has garnered the most interest from the Bengals, Vikings, Packers, and Jaguars, King hears. King personally wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bengals take the controversial running back with the No. 41 overall pick given the team’s past willingness to gamble on a checkered history.
  • King wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants move up from No. 23 or if the Texans move up from No. 25 to get a pick in the teens. The Giants are looking for a tackle and the Texans are in need of a quarterback. The Ravens (No. 16) and Titans (No. 18) “would be happy to move down,” King writes.
  • Many of the top players in this year’s draft come with serious medical concerns. One GM told King that he has never ‘been part of a draft with so many medical red flags.”

NFL Draft Rumors: Mixon, Raiders, Eagles

Is Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon the most talented player in this year’s draft? One nameless personnel executive told Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he believes that to be the case. The other execs surveyed, naturally, went in different directions. Texas A&M star Myles Garrett got 11 votes, LSU safety Jamal Adams got two, and there was one vote cast for Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. Unlike the others, Mixon doesn’t necessarily seem likely to go in the first round.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

Falcons Notes: Mixon, Freeney, Coleman

The Falcons are not interested in drafting running back Joe Mixon, and have removed him from their draft board given his prior assault charge, according to Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta becomes the third known to team to have ruled out Mixon, joining Miami and New England. Like the Dolphins and Patriots, though, the Falcons don’t necessarily need a player of Mixon’s caliber given the level of talent on their roster. In Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, Atlanta already boasts one of the better backfield tandems in the league, and can easily make the decision to avoid the headache of adding Mixon.

Here’s more from Atlanta:

  • Although veteran pass rusher Dwight Freeney is likely to continue his career in 2017, the Falcons won’t decide whether to offer him a new contract until after the draft, per Schultz. Freeney, 37, probably wouldn’t have been participated in Atlanta’s spring workout sessions, so the club doesn’t feel the need to hurry into an offer. Last season, Freeney played on roughly a third of the Falcons’ defensive snaps in 2016, and posted three sacks and 18 hurries. He’s PFR’s No. 1 free agent edge defender. At present, Atlanta’s defensive end depth chart includes Vic Beasley, Adrian Clayborn, Derrick Shelby, Courtney Upshaw, Brooks Reed, and Jack Crawford, while the club could also select another pass rusher in the draft.
  • A long-term extension with Freeman is also on the back burner, reports Schultz, and the Falcons don’t expect to begin contract discussions until the start of training camp. Negotiations could also bleed into the regular season. Freeman, 25, is scheduled to earn $1.797MM in 2017, and was at one point reportedly looking for “elite” running back money. While Freeman and his agent have since walked back those comments, Freeman is surely still hunting for a hefty deal after combining for 2,100-plus rushing yards, 27 touchdowns (22 on the ground, five receiving) and 127 catches from 2015-16.
  • The Falcons could have interest in trading up from the No. 31 pick, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution“To move up in the 20s, there will be opportunities there,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “There are some interesting candidates that will be around there in the early parts of the 20s.” Atlanta could target a number of positions of Day 1 of the draft, but edge rusher or guard seem to be the club’s clearest need areas. In PFR’s first 2017 mock draft, I sent UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley to the Falcons at the end of the first round.
  • In case you missed it, the Falcons plan to exercise left tackle Jake Matthews‘ 2018 fifth-year option. The former No. 6 overall pick had a decent showing last year, earning a 74.3 overall score on Pro Football Focus. That mark left Mathews ranked No. 37 among all tackles, putting him in the middle of the pack out of 78 qualified players. He’ll earn roughly $12.81MM in 2018, but that figure is guaranteed for injury only until the first day of the 2018 league year.

Draft Notes: QBs, Foster, Ross, Cook, Mixon

Although the 2017 rookie quarterback pool has been heavily scrutinized this offseason, teams are warming up to select signal-callers as the draft nears. While this shouldn’t be unexpected, given the position’s scarcity at the sport’s highest level, Charlie Casserly of NFL.com and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) hear two QBs could well be taken in the top 10. A GM told Casserly he expects two quarterbacks to be taken in the top nine picks, meaning the Bills — who have been linked to passers at 10 — could have to look elsewhere if they don’t trade up. Miller points to Mitch Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes as the players most likely to be those top-nine choices, while a 22-team survey from Casserly produced Trubisky or Deshaun Watson as the quarterbacks teams identify as this draft’s best.

Here’s more from this draft pool, with the three-day event less than six days away.

  • Reuben Foster has been linked as high as No. 2 overall to the 49ers, but since, the former Alabama linebacker has run into off-field trouble on multiple fronts. And Miller hears a Myles Jack-like fall could be in store for the talented ‘backer. Viewed as a top-five talent in 2016, Jack plummeted to the Jaguars at No. 36 last year because of a severe injury he suffered while at UCLA. Foster falling out of the first round based strictly on character issues would stand as a surprise. A failed drug test and his forced exit from the Combine indeed raise red flags, but Foster has been viewed as the top off-the-ball linebacker in this draft throughout the process. It would take a lot of linebacker-needy teams to pass on him for this freefall to commence. PFR’s Zach Links asked whether Foster was going to fall out of the top 10 earlier today; slinking out of the top 32 would be something else entirely.
  • Regarding other possible falling stocks, Miller hears John Ross and Dalvin Cook may fall out of the first round as well. The Florida State back has not seen much momentum since the Combine, with a low SPARQ score accompanying a past that includes some troublesome signs. Ross underwent surgery after the Combine to repair a torn labrum but did set the event’s modern record with a 4.22-second 40-yard dash time. This isn’t the first time Miller’s warned about concerns around Ross potentially causing a slippage for the Washington-developed speedster.
  • Ross’ agent, Brad Cicala, attempted to address concerns that there’s more to Ross’ medical history. Ross underwent two surgeries to correct knee problems in early 2015, per Cicala, but did not undergo two ACL procedures. “Despite recent reports, John Ross III has never sustained 2 ACL injury’s (sic) nor has he had 2 ACL surgeries,” Cicala wrote (via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Facebook link) “In January of 2015 he endured surgery on his right lateral meniscus and in April of 2015 he had surgery on his left ACL.” Cicala adds that Ross has been deemed “ahead of schedule” in his recovery from the labrum surgery, with the wideout expected to be ready by training camp.
  • Miller is hearing Mixon’s name connected to the second round. One team to meet with the runner has a need at running back but is connected to a higher-profile name. The Raiders met with the Oklahoma product who grew up in the Bay Area, and Reggie McKenzie was satisfied with the embattled running back’s answers. “We thought he was a really good kid,” McKenzie said Friday, via Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “He came off really well. He explained each and every thing. The questions that we had, he had an explanation. He was upfront about everything.” Mark Davis is associated with having a “zero tolerance” policy on domestic violence, and the Raiders are currently negotiating with Marshawn Lynch. So, this would be an interesting fit, to say the least.
  • Former USC wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster said the Rams and Cowboys have shown the most interest in him, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The Los Angeles-based wideout said he would like to play for the Chargers last month.

Joe Mixon Reaches Civil Settlement

Joe Mixon and the woman he punched nearly three years ago agreed to a civil settlement on Friday, Jake Trotter of ESPN.com reports. Terms of the settlement are not available.

The likely draft pick and Amelia Molitor, the victim in the infamous incident in 2014, settled on her accusation of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Trotter reports an Oklahoma judge threw out Molitor’s accusations of negligence and willful and wanton misconduct in her original suit in November of last year.

Mixon and Molitor released a joint statement, revealing they met privately.

I’m thankful Mia and I were able to talk privately,” Mixon said in the statement. “I was able to apologize to her one-to-one. The way I reacted that night, that’s not me. That’s not the way I was raised. I think she understands that.”

The punch, one that broke four bones in Molitor’s face, resulted in Mixon being suspended from Oklahoma for the 2014 season and has led to Mixon landing as the biggest character risk in this year’s draft. The running back accepted a plea deal after the incident but returned to the Sooners’ football team a year later and put himself in position to be a possible Day 2 draft pick. The incident being caught on tape has caused several teams to remove Mixon from their respective draft boards and has the talented ball-carrier’s stock in a murky place with the draft a week away.

I greatly appreciate his apology and I think the feelings he expressed were sincere. We both could have handled things differently,” Molitor said in the statement. “I believe if we had a chance to go back to that moment in time, the situation would not have ended the way it did. I’m finished talking about what happened that night with Joe. It’s time to move on from that. I wish Joe the best of luck in his future.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Mixon, Eagles, Lions, Stafford

Thanks to his off-field transgressions, Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon‘s draft stock is reportedly dropping, but the Eagles are among those who have him on their board, writes Jeff McLane of Philly.com. Owner Jeffrey Lurie has given team brass his blessing to consider drafting Mixon, two sources confirmed to McLane. Notably, two of the Eagles’ key decision-makers, vice president of football operations Howie Roseman and VP of player personnel Joe Douglas, spoke highly of Mixon’s abilities on Thursday. “There’s not much he can’t do,” Roseman said. “He’s incredible with the ball in his hands, you can split him out, he’s got really good hands [as a receiver], he can pass-protect, he can make people miss.” Douglas added that “a lot of people think that he is one of the top backs in this draft,” but he noted that “most teams” are considering Mixon’s character issues.

More on Philadelphia and a pair of its NFC foes:

  • Speculatively, Mixon could be a possibility for the Eagles beginning in Round 2. Before debating whether to take him, they’ll have to make a decision in the opening round, where they’re slated to pick 14th. The club has come up with “probably about seven or eight scenarios” for that spot, according to Douglas, and Roseman expects to end up with a star-caliber player with that selection. “One thing I know — when we make a pick at 14, with the way our board looks right now, we’re going to all be high-fiving then, and very excited about that pick,” declared Roseman (via Les Bowen of Philly.com).
  • Entering a contract year, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford could become the highest-paid player in the NFL by next offseason, though Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press argues that he’s not worth it. While Monarrez expects the Lions to cave to Stafford’s demands, he opines that the signal-caller’s age (30 next February) and zero playoff wins are among the reasons the team would be better off letting him test the market than become the league’s richest player in Detroit.
  • Speaking of the Lions, general manager Bob Quinn addressed the strengths of this year’s draft Thursday, saying it’s particularly deep at running back, wide receiver, cornerback, safety and tight end (Twitter link via Tim Twentyman of the team website).
  • Linebacker Sam Acho‘s one-year deal with the Bears is worth $855K, including $130K fully guaranteed, tweets ESPN’s Adam Caplan.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Draft Rumors: Mixon, Lattimore, Peppers

It was reportedly likely as of two weeks ago that Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon wouldn’t last beyond the third round of the draft, but now there’s “palpable buzz” that his stock is dropping, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Interestingly, one league source informed Florio that Mixon will go undrafted, which runs counter to the notion that many teams Mixon has met with are willing to forgive him for his sordid past. Mixon was caught on camera punching a woman in the face in 2014, and while he has since expressed remorse, his future NFL employer will undoubtedly face a public relations backlash upon adding him.

More on the upcoming draft:

  • Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore visited the Jets on Tuesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). New York holds the sixth overall pick, with which it could theoretically take Lattimore, but it’s possible concerns over his health will cause him to slide out of the top 10. Should that happen, the Jets may still end up a candidate to draft Lattimore if they succeed in trading down.
  • The Ravens hosted Michigan defender Jabrill Peppers on Tuesday, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Peppers expects to serve as a safety in the pros, as do most teams with which he has spoken, but one sees the likely first- or second-rounder as a linebacker and another believes he’s capable of lining up on offense.
  • The Cowboys are in need of pass-rush help, which could come in the form of Missouri defensive end Charles Harris. The club’s attraction to Harris is no secret, reports Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram, though she notes that he might be off the board by the time Dallas is on the clock at No. 28 overall.
  • A couple of NFC West teams are eyeing Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu, per Wilson (Twitter link). Melifonwu met with the 49ers on Tuesday and will visit the Seahawks on Wednesday. Speculatively, the 6-foot-4, 224-pounder could be a fit for the 49ers early in Round 2 (No. 34 overall) or the Seahawks late in the first (No. 26).

Extra Points: Romo, Lynch, Raiders, Mixon

As an undrafted free agent, Tony Romo almost wound up with the Broncos or the Cardinals over the Cowboys.

I actually wanted to go to Denver a little bit more, I felt like I had a better chance of making the roster,” Romo told Peter King of The MMQB this week. “The money … Arizona, I believe, offered the most, probably around $20,000 or $25,000, which was like being rich at that time. Denver came in and they were like 15 to 20, but they also had Mike Shanahan who I had strong respect for, and obviously the Cowboys came in. It was Mike Shanahan on one side and then Bill Parcells on the other. Sean would call in and then eventually he passed the phone to Jerry [Jones], so you went through the whole gamut.”

While you ponder that, here’s more news from around the NFL:

  • The Raiders are working on short-term deal with heavy incentives for Marshawn Lynch in advance of his reinstatement, Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets. After that, the Seahawks will either trade him to Oakland or release him to facilitate a deal.
  • 49ers GM John Lynch won’t rule out the possibility of drafting controversial Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon. “I think in terms of our board, we’ve made an effort to be as transparent as possible, but just one thing that I believe is that we’re not going to share some specifics of our board, who’s on it, who’s off it,” Lynch said (via CSNBayArea.com). “So I think that applies to that young man, as well.” The 49ers released cornerback Tramaine Brock after his domestic violence arrest, but that apparently doesn’t equal a complete zero tolerance policy.
  • The Rams extension timing with first-round picks Robert Quinn, Tavon Austin, and Michael Brockers suggests that Aaron Donald will have a new deal by October, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com opines (Twitter link). This week, the Rams exercised Donald’s fifth-year option, but many expect the two sides to hammer out a long-term extension before that kicks in.

Draft Rumors: 49ers, Jets, Fins, Mixon,

The 49ers are willing to trade the second pick in the draft, which has been the case since at least February. They’ll “listen to anything,” said general manager John Lynch, who revealed that teams have shown interest in acquiring the selection (via Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area). Regardless of whether they trade the choice, the 49ers won’t have top prospects like Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett, Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas or Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey in for pre-draft visits. “I think we know those guys pretty well,” stated Lynch (Twitter link via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com). They did work out Cal quarterback Davis Webb on Tuesday, per Wagoner. Webb is gaining momentum as a potential first-rounder.

More on the draft:

  • The Jets worked out North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky on March 30, but they’ll take another look at the 22-year-old Thursday in the form of a pre-draft visit, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. There are some members of the organization who are quite bullish on Trubisky, Mehta writes. The quarterback-needy Jets, who are set to pick sixth, have also met twice with Texas Tech signal-caller Patrick Mahomes.
  • With their first-rounder, No. 30, the Steelers plan to select the best defensive back available, says Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (video link). That could be Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, whom GM Kevin Colbert “loves,” according to Kinkhabwala. Head coach Mike Tomlin said last month that the Steelers need DBs capable of playing man coverage, noting that New England quarterback Tom Brady roasted their secondary in January’s AFC championship game.
  • The Dolphins’ previously reported visit with Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton took place Wednesday, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.The team also hosted Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis, who, like Charlton, is a prospective first-rounder. PFR’s Dallas Robinson currently has Miami taking Charlton at No. 22 overall.
  • Speaking of the Dolphins, they’ll meet with Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt this week, and he’ll also visit the Saints, 49ers and Broncos in the coming days, relays Jeremy Bregman of NFL.com. The brother of Texans superstar J.J. Watt may end up coming off the board in Round 1.
  • Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is “absolutely in play” for the Vikings in Round 2 (No. 48 overall), Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller told Matt Vensel, Andrew Krammer and Michael Rand of the Star Tribune. Along with Minnesota, the Saints, Bengals and Raiders have shown the most interest in Mixon, per Miller. The Raiders seem like a curious fit, though, given Mixon’s past and owner Mark Davis’ zero tolerance policy regarding domestic violence.

Draft Notes: Giants, Jaguars, Bears, Jets

Due to his ability to block and catch passes, Alabama tight end O.J. Howard is likely on top of the Giants draft board, surmises ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan. The organization is also high on Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.

Meanwhile, after having to deal with the Josh Brown situation last season, Raanan believes there’s little chance that the organization ends up selecting embattled running back Joe Mixon. The writer also has a difficult team envisioning the team taking defensive tackle Malik McDowell or running back Dalvin Cook.

Let’s take a look at some other draft notes from around the NFL…

  • Utah offensive tackle Garett Bolles visited the Jaguars last week, reports Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller (via Twitter). As the reporter notes, offensive line coach Pat Flaherty previously worked out the prospect. The lineman attended Snow College for two years before transferring to the University of Utah last year. During his lone season with the team, Bolles was named to the First Team All-Pac-12.
  • The Bears are set to meet with Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram, reports Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun Times (via Twitter). The senior finished with career-highs across the board in 2016, collecting 65 receptions for 926 yards and eight touchdowns. Engram has been commended for his blocking ability, and his 6-foot-3 frame has led some to compare him to Redskins tight end Jordan Reed.
  • The Jets “really like” Missouri linebacker Charles Harris, writes ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini. The junior finished last season with 35 tackles and nine sacks. The writer notes that the linebacker would fit into the team’s scheme as a rush linebacker. Meanwhile, Cimini notes that Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan is “married to his best-player-available philosophy,” which could lead to the organization selecting running back Leonard Fournette or Howard with the sixth-overall pick.