According to multiple news outlets (including The Oklahoman), Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon will enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
UPDATE: It's official. Here's Mixon’s statement.
BREAKING: Joe Mixon headed the NFL draft, sources close to the running back confirm https://t.co/3h7dxX7RYw— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) January 5, 2017
Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon turning pro.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 5, 2017
This news comes just two days after record-breaking running back Samaje Perine announced he would enter the draft. Mixon ran for 1,274 rushing yards in 2017, and the two combined for 2,334 on the ground this past season. Additionally, Mixon was second in receptions and receiving yards for the Sooners in 2016.
Yes, Oklahoma will be returning quite an offensive line in 2017, but the impact of the losses of Mixon and Perine cannot be overstated. The young guns are talented, but they lack experience and could have trouble doing the little things at first. Also, banking on these guys ending up as talented as Mixon or Perine would be pretty bold.
Do I think OU still wins the Big 12 and competes for a playoff spot in 2017? I sure do, but it’s going to be much more of a challenge. Rodney Anderson has demonstrated his tremendous abilities, but he’s coming off of two serious injuries over the past two seasons. Abdul Adams shows all the signs that he can potentially be a dynamic playmaker down the line, but he’s still unproven. I’m excited to see the three newcomers in action, but who knows how quickly they’ll come along? It’s more common to see someone immediately step right in at running back than it is at other positions, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Here’s to hoping Anderson, Adams, Trey Sermon, Kennedy Brooks and Marcelias Sutton can be world-beaters in 2017 and beyond. I think we’ll be just fine, but the abilities of their predecessors will be missed.