Joe Mixon was one of the most exciting running backs in college football in 2016. He came to the Oklahoma Sooners with a lot of promise but his college career was stalled when he encountered an intoxicated woman off campus and ended up punching her in the face when she physically assaulted him. The actions caused the Sooners to suspend Mixon for an entire season. He returned from the incident and proved to be one of the best running backs in the nation. However, that incident from his past caused him to slip in the 2017 NFL Draft before the Cincinnati Bengals picked him up.

Cincinnati Bengals running back competition

Joe Mixon has all the talent in the world to succeed in the NFL. However, he has to win the starting running back job with the Cincinnati Bengals and he has to overcome two players who also came into the NFL with a ton of promise. Those players, Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill have both shown over their career that they can be franchise running backs but they have also proven over their career that they can disappear and are nowhere near consistent enough to have the Bengals rely on them.

Both Bernard and Hill have won and lost the starting running back job and both have excelled and then collapsed, making the Cincinnati Bengals feel that they needed to draft Joe Mixon to possibly be the replacement for them at the top of the depth chart.

The Bengals have said they have a lot of expectations for Mixon and feel his troubles are all in his past and he will be an important part of the Bengals franchise moving forward.

How Bengals will use Mixon this preseason

So, if Joe Mixon wants to win the Cincinnati Bengals starting job, he has to win it in the preseason. That means that he needs the chance.

At the moment, Jeremy Hill is the best bet to start at running back for the Bengals even though he gave up a lot of playing time to Giovani Bernard in 2016. However, in 2014, the Bengals averaged 134.2 yards a game and last season – with Hill and Bernard – they only averaged 110.6 yards per game.

Joe Mixon had 1,812 combined rushing and receiving yards for the Oklahoma Sooners in 2016 with 15 touchdowns, and he did that sharing the role with Samaje Peron, who the Washington Redskins drafted this year.

If Mixon could do that Sharing The Load with Peron last year in Oklahoma, imagine what he can do sharing the load with Hill and/or Bernard for the Cincinnati Bengals. With training camp starting, Hill is the starter but Mixon will have every chance early to move up the depth chart and expect him to pass Bernard and eventually Hill by the time the season starts or shortly thereafter.