Controversial running back prospect Joe Mixon, who was the subject of national attention after he was shown punching a woman on camera, was drafted by Cincinnati Bengals at No. 48 overall pick in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday.
Mixon was pegged by many draft analysts to be Day 2 pick despite questions about his character following the incident, which occurred in July 2014 prior to his freshman season at Oklahoma.
Oklahoma suspended Mixon for a season after he was shown on camera punching and knocking out Amelia Molitor, a fellow Oklahoma student, after a brief confrontation at a Norman, Oklahoma, restaurant. Molitor suffered fractured bones in her face, according to The Associated Press. Video of the incident wasn’t made public until after a judge ordered the release of security videos in December 2016.
Mixon, 20, completed one year of probation, 100 hours of community service and behavioral counseling as part of a plea agreement to a misdemeanor assault charge, according to court records. Last week, a settlement was reached in the civil lawsuit Molitor filed against Mixon, according to the Associated Press. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Mixon is considered one of the top running backs of this year’s draft class. The NFL didn’t invite him to the scouting combine, but he had a strong pro day, clocking an official time of 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He was ranked just outside the top five of NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock’s final pre-draft rankings. Although Mixon met with at least 15 teams before the draft, some did not have him on their draft boards.
Speaking on The Rich Eisen Show on April 12, Mixon reiterated he’s a “different person” from the one who punched a woman at an Oklahoma restaurant in 2014 and said he isn’t “running from the fact that I made a huge mistake.”
“I’ve been through a lot of situations after that and I learned a lot,” said Mixon, who told Eisen he had met with around 15 teams two weeks before the draft. “I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about the character of me. I just grew up from the situation and moved fast and tried to move forward in a positive manner.”
Returning from suspension, Mixon rushed for 753 yards and seven touchdowns in 2015 before tallying 1,274 yards and 10 touchdowns last year.