NFL Draft: Joe Mixon & Samaje Perine Both Land In Ideal Spots
With the 2017 NFL Draft coming and going over this past weekend, two former Oklahoma running backs landed in ideal spots.
Joe Mixon was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals, and even with the negative off the field issues surrounding the former five-star recruit, Mixon appears to be the running back of the future for Who Dey nation.
Cincinnati offensive coordinator Ken Zampese could barely contain his excitement when talking about the addition of Mixon to the roster.
“I’m so excited I can hardly stand myself,” Zampese said. “This guy can flat go. Very, very good football player. Strong, explosive, change of direction, feel and instincts, catches the ball, can move around in different places on the field, interviewed football IQ very well, protections, explained his offense well. I think he has a very, very bright future.”
The Bengals still have running backs Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill on the roster, but with Hill struggling to produce in each of the last two seasons, it's likely that Mixon is given more opportunities while Bernard will likely be the third-down back.
Along with Mixon, OU's all-time leading rusher, Samaje Perine, should contribute right away on his new team. The Washington Redskins selected Perine in the fourth round, and head coach Jay Gruden is thrilled to add the tough runner to his offense.
"We really enjoyed his interview, his toughness, watching him on tape," Gruden said of Perine. "You feel his presence when he runs the football. He’s a hard guy to get down, and if you do get him down, you’re going to get up holding your shoulder or something because he’s going to hit you."
Perine should immediately compete with Rob Kelley for carries on first and second down, while Chris Thompson is the Redskins' primary third-down back. Along with the great fit schematically, Perine joins two former Sooners in D.C. Former No. 4 overall pick, Trent Williams, is the Redskins starting left tackle while former Union Redskin, Tress Way, holds down the punting duties.
The Sooners now have five former running backs in the NFL with Mixon, Perine, Adrian Peterson (Saints), DeMarco Murray (Titans) and Damien Williams (Dolphins).