For all the talk about Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook, many people believe that Joe Mixon, based on talent alone, is the top running back prospect in this year’s Draft. But he won’t be drafted as such.

That’s what happens when you hit a woman – or better yet, when it’s captured on film.

“There are a lot of teams that are not taking him,” Bleacher Report NFL columnist Mike Freeman told Andrew Bogusch and Pete Prisco, who were filling in as hosts of CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “They just want nothing to do with him. But all it takes is one. He’s not going tonight. I can see Round 2, though. The problem is I’ve had people tell me they think he’s the best player in the draft. I don’t agree with that, but I know that there is a feeling that he is a super-talented guy and those guys don’t (come around often). Some team is going to hold their nose and take him early. I could be wrong. It won’t be the first round, but it could be second or third. I think he’s a Friday guy. I think he goes tomorrow, and that’s another huge story in this draft. I’ve covered a lot of drafts, and this draft, I haven’t seen so many guys – either because of injury or like we’re seeing about (Myles) Garrett about effort or because of off-the-field stuff – so many red flags for so many top guys. It’s unbelievable. I haven’t seen anything like this in a long time.”

Prisco and Freeman agree that certain transgressions can be forgiven. For example, smoking marijuana, to them, is not a deal-breaker. 

But abusing women is.

“It’s awful. I’m with you, and I think a lot of teams feel the same way,” Freeman said. “I don’t know the number; just from talking to various teams, the sentiment is he is off a lot of boards, and I’m with you. I’m the same way, particularly with marijuana. It’s the stupidest thing to be harsh and judge someone over. They’re the rules, you got to follow them, (but) the rules are stupid, and to me, you overlook that kind of stuff. Domestic violence, violence against women, is one of the things that I don’t really forgive. I don’t mean to sound like a judge, and I’m not saying he should never, ever earn a living. I get that on Twitter. I’m not saying that. But I’m with you in that that video, whatever team drafts him, that video will stick to them – not just to the player, but it will stick to the team, in the same way that Ray Rice remained unemployed. Now, Mixon is so talented that someone is going to say, ‘I’m going to take the risk.’ But I’m with you. I don’t want something like that on my team. It’s a horrible example for (my team).”

Some owners may deny Mixon because of their own moral code, while others simply don’t want to deal with the backlash. 

“Not that owners are choir boys,” Freeman said, “but the owners, they don’t want to deal with advertisers, they don’t want to deal with boycotts, and some teams just don’t want to deal with family members who hate this kind of stuff, too. That’s a big part of this as well. We’ve seen over the years owners step in and say, ‘We’re not taking this guy.’ That’s a part of this as well. . . . But this is a test case because this guy is (20 years old). He is a supremely talented guy that will help you win immediately and will help you win for years. There will be a team that will overlook all that, and they’re going to get hammered for it. Whoever takes him is going to get hammered for it – and they should be to me. . . . That video is haunting. It’s really ugly, and it’s a lot to overcome. It’s a big challenge for him.”


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