Redskins weigh char­ac­ter ver­sus ta­lent with Mixon, oth­ers

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY MATTHEW PARAS

ASH­BURN | There are some NFL prog­nos­ti­ca­tors who think Ok­la­homa’s Joe Mixon might be the best player in this year’s NFL draft.

But the run­ning back’s video­taped, jaw­break­ing down­ing of a woman in a sandwich shop in 2014 has a lot of teams — in­clud­ing the Washington Redskins — weigh­ing the cost of tak­ing on a ballplayer known as much for his off-field trou­ble as his grid­iron ex­ploits.

Scott Campbell, the Redskins’ di­rec­tor of college scout­ing, was mum this week when asked if Mixon is on Washington’s radar.

Campbell said it doesn’t make any sense strate­gi­cally to dis­close who is on or off the team’s draft­board, but he said the Redskins do gen­er­ally weigh a po­ten­tial pick’s off-the-field ac­tions.

“Char­ac­ter is very im­por­tant to me,” Campbell said. “It’s im­por­tant to the Redskins. Our scouts do a great job in get­ting a lot of in­for­ma­tion. … All those things are fac­tored into the eval­u­a­tion as they’re gath­ered.

“It’s very im­por­tant to me to get the right kind of guy in here to help us win, to make us bet­ter.”

The Redskins were in­con­clu­sive on Mixon, but at least six NFL teams, ac­cord­ing to the Mil­wau­kee Jour­nalSen­tinel, have said the 20-year-old is off their boards.

Mixon was sus­pended for the 2014 sea­son at Ok­la­homa af­ter punch­ing a stu­dent at a Nor­man cafe, send­ing her to the hospi­tal. He was con­victed of mis­de­meanor as­sault and or­dered to un­dergo coun­sel­ing and serve 100 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice. He also re­cently set­tled a civil law­suit with the woman.

Mixon’s case is the lat­est to put a spot­light on the issue of ath­letes and vi­o­lence against women — an area where the NFL, in par­tic­u­lar, has suf­fered re­peated pub­lic-re­la­tions dis­as­ters in re­cent years.

Scouts say Mixon is a first-round ta­lent on tape. But any team that takes him in the draft — or even as a free agent, should he go un­s­e­lected — is sure to face

a back­lash from some cor­ners.

Campbell said the Redskins’ scouts will al­ways grade ta­lent first, then char­ac­ter, which fac­tors in as the draft gets closer.

“You don’t grade char­ac­ter, you grade ta­lent,” Campbell said. “So you don’t throw away some­body early that may have an re­deem­ing qual­ity or there’s a side of a story you don’t know about. So you grade foot­ball play­ers as foot­ball play­ers first on ta­lent.

“Then when it comes closer to the draft, you start weed­ing all that, get­ting more in­for­ma­tion, de­cid­ing, ‘Okay, this guy’s not our kind of guy, this guy’s not a Red­skin, this guy could be drafted, but good luck to him.’”

The NFL draft be­gins Thurs­day at 8 p.m.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ok­la­homa run­ning back Joe Mixon’s off-the-field is­sues have many NFL teams weigh­ing the cost of draft­ing him.

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