4 RBs were drafted before Alvin Kamara

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Joe Mixon
CINCINNATI, OH – DECEMBER 16: Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at Paul Brown Stadium on December 16, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Joe Mixon

The last back taken before Kamara in the 2017 draft was Joe Mixon out of Oklahoma. Mixon was another outstanding run and catch back out of this class. Unlike any other back on this list, Mixon only played two seasons of college football. He was forced to miss the 2014 season due to a suspension inflicted by the program. But his two seasons with the Sooners were enough to convince NFL teams of his talent.

Throughout 2015, he was slowly incorporated into the team’s offense. Mixon immediately established himself as a scoring threat every time he touched the ball. He hit holes hard, powered through weak tackles and always seemed in control of himself and the game. By the end of 2016, he had combined for 26 touchdowns in just two years. 

Despite a number of off-the-field issues, Mixon was seen as a lock as a second-round pick. Multiple teams were in search of a back to build on and they were willing to look past his previous troubles with authorities. The Cincinnati Bengals decided to take a chance on him and selected him with the 48th overall pick in the draft. The team lacked many weapons outside of AJ Green and was in pursuit of a dual-purpose back to energize their offense.

Mixon has become the team’s go-to back since day one. In his first year in the league, Mixon had 626 yards on the ground and four touchdowns. Mixon has continued to improve in his second year in the last. Last season, he was fourth in the league in rushing yards behind Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, and Todd Gurley. That’s some elite company for a second-year back and Mixon doesn’t often receive much credit.

The Bengals found exactly what they were looking for in Mixon. He has significantly improved his ground game and minimized his fumble numbers in only one season. Mixon is a back that will grind to get better each year until he receives the recognition he deserves. Despite doubling his number of rushing touchdowns last season, he still didn’t receive a pro bowl nomination.

Return of the 'Goons and Savages'. light. Saints D 2019

Kamara went to his first pro bowl his rookie year and already seems leagues ahead of Mixon as a pass option and a pure scorer. Mixon is a promising player but Kamara already has a better feel for the game and would have been a steal for Cincinnati. Everything that Mixon is improving upon is something Kamara has already mastered. He would have been an easy selection here for the Bengals.