Ten days ago, rounds 2 and 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft commenced.
To have a successful draft, a team usually selects starting-caliber players with its first few picks while acquiring key depth in later rounds. With such a deep draft this year, teams drafting in round 2 were bound to get some 1st-round talent.
Cincinnati was one of those teams. With the 9th overall selection, the Bengals chose former Washington wide receiver John Ross, whose 4.22 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine was the fastest time ever at the event. One year ago, the Bengals lost wide receivers Mohamed Sanu (Atlanta) and Marvin Jones (Detroit) in free agency, so selecting Ross infused the Bengals fan base with renewed hope.
On Friday April 28, the Bengals looked to add a running back to further amplify its offensive firepower. With the 41st overall pick, Dalvin Cook was selected by the Minnesota Vikings. Cook was selected by Minnesota in what was Cincinnati’s original spot. The Bengals elected to move down seven spots in the 2nd round while also gaining the Vikings’ 4th-round pick (128th overall) in exchange for Minnesota assuming the 41st slot.
Only two running backs had been selected in the prior 40 picks, so even though it meant they may not get Cook, Bengals brass likely felt good about their chances to get another impact running back at No. 48.
With the 48th overall pick, the Bengals chose Joe Mixon. In two seasons as an Oklahoma Sooner, Mixon gained 2,921 yards from scrimmage (8.0 yards per touch) and scored 26 total touchdowns. The 6’1”, 226-pound back compares to Steelers star Le’Veon Bell (6’1”, 225 pounds). In Bell’s last two collegiate seasons at Michigan State, he scored 26 total touchdowns. In the 2013 NFL Draft, he too was drafted 48th overall.
While Mixon signed with Oklahoma in early 2014, he didn’t play a single down for the Sooners that year. On July 25, 2014, Mixon punched fellow OU student Amelia Molitor in the face. Molitor stated she’d never met Mixon before the incident. On August 15 of that year, he was charged with misdemeanor assault, and on August 19, he was suspended for the year.
Thus, Mixon only played two seasons of college football before being drafted. One week prior to him being drafted, he and Molitor “amicably resolved” the matter.
Needless to say, all of this surely diminished his draft stock in the eyes of many teams.
“Joe and this young woman recently met in person, came to terms with the incident, and they agreed to resolve their differences so they could move forward with their lives. While the circumstances that led up to the incident are unclear — what is clear is that it is unacceptable for a man to strike a woman.
Since the incident three years ago, Joe was suspended by the football team, pleaded guilty in court, and accepted the consequences of his actions. He later went on to become a good citizen in Norman, a popular teammate, a player respected by his coaches, and one of the most talented players in college football.”
“Fantastic talent at running back. He had the dust up with the parking attendant. The arrogance is there, so it’ll be interesting to see how he goes about this business now that he’s going to have some money in his pocket. You wish the kid the best in everything. You hope that he learns from the crime he committed. Hopefully he’ll have a bright future.”
Mixon has plenty of talent and is now part of an organization run by a loyal owner. He’s been given a big-time opportunity to start fresh.
While I was on the topic of the NFL Draft with Gregg, I asked him about Orlando Brown, the Sooners’ redshirt junior offensive tackle*.
“Every time I see him, I just think of his dad. I love the way he plays. He plays like his old man. Fiery, wants to get after people. Maybe a little more flexible than his old man. He’s going to be a tremendous talent and player, long arms. I remember when Big Zeus brought him in the locker room…I think he was a sixth grader…I thought we had just signed a new player. He’s got a tremendous upside. You love the way he loves football like his old man did.”
Orlando Sr. passed away on September 23, 2011 at the age of 40. He was a massive, violent NFL offensive lineman that either gained or took respect from his opponents.
His son plays the same way.
Standing 6’8” and weighing 360 pounds, Brown has made quite an impression on the college football landscape and NFL scouts. Last year, he was named AP Second-Team All-American, AP First-Team All-Big 12, and Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year. In 2016, Orlando gave up only one sack in 659 plays. He’s a mountain of a left tackle, and plays every play in remembrance of his dad. That’s a scary combination for an opposing defender.
Renowned NFL Draft Analyst Matt Miller recently published a 2018 mock draft. He predicted Brown would be drafted with the 14th overall pick next year—something that wouldn’t surprise anyone who follows college football.
The team he predicted would select Brown: the Cincinnati Bengals.
Being that Orlando’s dad played six seasons in Baltimore and three in Cleveland, it’s safe to say future AFC North matchups will be very interesting if this comes to fruition.
*From 2003-05, Gregg played with Orlando Brown Sr. (aka Zeus) in Baltimore.