- Paul Domowitch
Mixon Made Smart Choice When Picking Agent
With the help of his agent Peter Schaffer, Joe Mixon has done an impressive job of refurbishing his image in recent months. And while some teams have taken him off their draft board, many others haven't.
"I think he's going to go in the second or third round,'' NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. "There's an ownership conversation involved with him. Some owners have already told their people to take him off the board.
"But he's made visits to nearly 20 teams. He did a very smart thing by hiring (Schaffer) who's a respected agent. Schaffer attacked it head on instead of trying to hide from it. They have controlled the narrative from Day 1.
"They've said he was 18 years old when that happened and that he's been a model citizen since then. Their approach has been that if you're going to bank on a kid who's had these kind of issues, this is the kind of kid you want to bank on.''
There have been conflicting reports as to whether the Eagles have taken Mixon off of their board. He wasn't one of the 30 players they brought in for a predraft visit. But a source close to Mixon indicated that the running back still is in play for the Eagles. Whether that's in the second round or third or only if he's still on the board on Day 3 is unclear.
Mixon was smart to hire Schaffer. He's one of the league's most respected agents. He has represented some of the league's best players, including Hall of Famers Jerome Bettis, Barry Sanders and William Roaf.
He has represented several former Eagles players, and always has had a good relationship with the organization, including executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman.
If anybody can convince the Eagles that Mixon is worth the PR hit they would take by drafting him, it's Schaffer.
"There's no question that the people you associate yourself with factor in to your character and your background,'' Roseman said Thursday. "We've had conversations (about other players in the past) where we've wondered, why did he hire that guy? He's got enough questions here and he goes and hires that guy. He's not helping himself.
"But there are a bunch of agents in this league that have tremendous character that do really well for their players. They're about helping their players. Peter's done that. It certainly helps when you look at the complete picture and see who they're entrusting their career to.''
Schaffer downplayed his role in refurbishing Mixon's image and convincing NFL teams he's not toxic.
"I don't know that there was a strategy as much as just the way I do business,'' he said. "That's direct and upfront and honest. I was honest with Joe during the recruiting process as far as where he stood and what needed to be done. I showed him a track record of relationships (he has with NFL executives and owners) and successful players I represented. I said, 'Here's what we need to do.'
"A lot of this was based on, when I got to know him during the recruiting process, I found him to be very intelligent and articulate. A deep thinker who is very humble. I said, 'If we can get teams and fans to see the real Joe Mixon, we just might have a shot here.'
"So, it's not like I'm Dr. Frankenstein and created something that wasn't there. It was there. Joe's personality is there. The person is there. The character is there. The integrity is there. What I was able to do was make sure he was able to allow other people inside to see that.''
As Mayock correctly pointed out, Mixon is an ownership conversation. Eight years after giving a second chance to Mike Vick, is Lurie willing to do the same thing for Mixon?
"Everything has to be on a case-by-case basis,''
Roseman said. "Mike and where he was and where we were then was unique. Mike had a tremendous support system, which is important to all these players we're talking about. Who is their support system? Who are they going to go to for advice?
"When you met Mike and saw how Mike dealt with people, he had an amazing ability to connect with people, not just on the field, but also off of it.
"He could tell his story and speak about his story and try to help others. I think that was one of the things that attracted us to Mike. Because of how together he was and how much he learned from his past mistakes.''
There are a lot of eyes on the Eagles. They've got one of the most passionate fan bases in the NFL. They've got one of the largest media contingents in the league covering them. Thursday's predraft Q & A with Roseman and Douglas drew more than 50 people.
Might that make them more reluctant to pull the trigger on Mixon? Maybe. Maybe not. We'll find out next week.
"In this media market, there's a lot of attention (on the Eagles),'' Roseman said. "We have to make the right decisions as far as what reflects well on our organization and the people that work in our organization, on and off the field.''