The Oakland Raiders might be intrigued enough by former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon to select him in this week’s draft, despite some teams steering clear of him due to past off the field issues.
Mixon is one of the most talented of a deep crop of running backs in this draft, considered a no doubt first-round pick if it weren’t for the 2014 incident in which he punched a female student at Oklahoma, leading to a broken jaw among four facial fractures.
Mixon, who was 18 at the time, released a joint statement Friday along with the victim, Amelia Molitor, announcing that the civil lawsuit Molitor filed against Mixon “has been amicably resolved and dismissed.” The terms of the settlement were left confidential, but this means from a legal standpoint that this case is now behind Mixon.
As part of the statement, Molitor says she was able to meet face-to-face with Mixon, with no attorneys present, and they discussed their experiences since that night. Mixon offered an in-person apology.
The closure to that case should help — or at least it can’t hurt — Mixon’s stock heading into next week’s draft. Some teams will still keep him off their board, but the Raiders aren’t one of them.
General manager Reggie McKenzie has already met with Mixon and came away impressed.
“We thought he was a really good kid,” McKenzie said Friday at a media conference previewing the draft. “He came off very well and explained each and every … question that we had. He had an explanation. He was up front about everything. The kid, he really came across as a good kid.”
Raiders owner Mark Davis has said the team maintains a zero-tolerance policy toward domestic violence.
“We research everything, McKenzie said. “We get all the information and we would not make a decision until all the information is in front of us. And with certain issues, like domestic violence, we consider that to the extreme. We really look into everything surrounding that. So, every decision will be well researched.
“If it’s one way or the other, we’re going to make it to where the decision is based on all the facts, all the research, and on the kid moving forward. But yes, we do hold that very dear to what we do, as far as who we bring in. Absolutely, we would not tolerate that, at all.”
McKenzie was presumably talking about players committing such acts while already on the roster.
The Raiders could need a big running back if talks with Marshawn Lynch break down, especially before the draft. Oakland’s first-round pick is No. 24 overall while the Raiders’ second-round pick is at No. 56 overall.
And while coach Jack Del Rio said the team’s leadership — he mentioned Derek Carr, Donald Penn and Khalil Mack — would handle the locker room and that scouts spend years “collecting information” on prospects before a visit to see how he interacts with “people in the building,” McKenzie said he goes by his “gut” when deciding on potential character-issue players.
“You have to feel the guy,” McKenzie said. “We’re dealing with young men, whether they have a mistake here or there — drunk, bar fight — whatever the case may be. You try to feel the remorse but you try to gauge and see, is this a malicious situation? Will it continue to be an issue?
“If your gut’s telling you ‘let’s give this young man a shot,’ I’ll try to lean towards that. I’m not going to disparage the kid for a mistake, certain issues.”