Reports: Lions met with RB Mixon before pro day

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — As general manager Bob Quinn stated at the league’s scouting combine, the Detroit Lions are doing their due diligence on running back Joe Mixon.

Members of the franchise privately met with him prior to his pro day, according to multiple reports.

The Lions had previously declined to remove the former Oklahoma running back from their draft board until doing further investigation into a 2014 incident where he punched a woman, breaking her jaw. The altercation at a Norman, Oklahoma, restaurant was caught on video and was released to the public in December. Mixon reached a plea deal in the case, which included a one-year suspended sentence, community service and counseling.

A dynamic ball carrier, there’s little question Mixon could help the Lions on the field. The 6-foot-1, 228-pounder averaged 6.8 yards per carry in two seasons for the Sooners, racking up 2,921 yards and 26 touchdowns from scrimmage.

But drafting the character risk would bring plenty of unwanted attention to Quinn and the Lions. Mixon is the current face of violence against women and his addition would run counter to the organization’s past stances. Owner Martha Ford was honored last year for the team’s zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence offenders.

Quinn already has said Ford would need to sign off on drafting Mixon.

Mixon impressed at his pro day, running the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds and putting up 21 reps in the bench press. Without the legal issues, he’d be a clear-cut first-round pick.

Austin in Alabama

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was spotted at Alabama’s pro day.

As usual, the Crimson Tide have produced a number of top prospects for the upcoming draft. Among those who merit the Lions’ attention are linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson, defensive end Tim Williams and cornerback Marlon Humphrey.