Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said during the scouting combine that his team is “not desperate’’ for help at running back. You wouldn’t know it from looking at one of the names on the list of draft eligible backs the team has reportedly visited with.
Citing unnamed sources, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported on Friday afternoon that the Bucs visited with Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon at One Buc Place this week.
Mixon comes with some major character concerns that include a 2014 domestic violence charge that stemmed from an incident in which he allegedly punched a female student.
Mixon was suspended for the entire 2014 season for that incident and had to apologize publicly two years later when video of him punching the woman was released.
Mixon was also suspended for a game during the 2016 season for disrespecting a parking attendant who had given him a ticket and was not invited to the combine as a result of his off-field issues.
Mixon’s talent, however, is undeniable. Most scouts believe he has a first-round caliber skill set, but several teams including the Dolphins have already taken him off their draft board and said they will flat out not draft Mixon.
It appears the Bucs would not be among those teams and perhaps, in the wake of Doug Martin’s PED violation and admission to a drug dependency issue, there’s good reason for that.
Despite Licht’s claim, many believe the Bucs will look to add a running back in this draft, and this is further indication the Bucs are exploring all possibilities and vetting everyone.
Good for them. The Bucs were also present at Mixon’s pro day, where fellow Oklahoma standout Gerald McCoy was in attendance, so it seems they’re doing all they can to get a good read on who Mixon really is.
You may remember that the Bucs did the very same with quarterback Jameis Winston a couple years back and few can say now that the Bucs made a poor choice there.
Vetting players is one thing the Bucs do very well under Licht, and by truly getting to know Mixon, they should be able to make a sound choice regarding whether or not to draft him.