Mixon off Falcons’ draft board; team still uncertain about Freeney return

Former Oklahoma players Joe Mixon, left, and Adrian Peterson, right, talk during the annual Oklahoma spring football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, April 8. (AP photo)

The Falcons aren’t in need of a running back going into next week’s draft because they already have Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. But even if they were looking for a new ball carrier, they would not draft Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon.

The Falcons have red-lined Mixon on their draft board. Actually, he’s not even on their board, it was learned Thursday. The former Oklahoma running back plead to a misdemeanor assault charge for punching a woman in October of 2014.

Mixon, who received a one-year deferred sentence and was ordered to undergo counseling, is considered to have first-round talent but could slide into at least the second round because of his history and the fact NFL teams are increasingly sensitive to the criticism of players involved in domestic violence cases.  Mixon also was suspended for one game in 2016 when he became upset at a female parking attendant who gave him a ticket, tore up the citation, threw it in her face and was alleged to have taken a step toward her to intimidate her.

Neither Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff nor coach Dan Quinn would say Thursday whether Mixon was on the Falcons’ draft board. But Dimitroff shared the organization’s philosophy, saying, “We’re really proud of the type of people we bring in here. We’re not looking for angels. We’re looking for guys who are real. We’re looking for guys who fit in this situation and the brotherhood. We’re particular about looking at the character situation and how they fit.”

The Falcons have been more sensitive to past legal issues of players in recent years, particularly since the Michael Vick dog fighting saga.

“It’s a big thing,” Dimitroff said of a players’ past. “And there are certain topics that are really touchy subjects – domestic issues and such. That doesn’t just come from just the head coach and the general manager, that comes from higher than us. Mr. (Arthur) Blank is very direct about it. Some times things fall through the cracks but we do all we can to make sure about our acquisitions.”

FREENEY’S FUTURE UNCERTAIN: The Falcons have yet to decide whether to extend an offer to defensive end Dwight Freeney about returning next season, and they won’t until after the draft, when they assess their roster and the potential need for a pass rusher. There has been no great rush because Freeney, who turned 37 in February, wasn’t likely to take part in the team’s spring workouts anyway.

Freeney also could decide he wants to retire, although USA Today reported in February that he wants to return for a 16th season. Freeney had only three sacks last season but he had one in the Super Bowl against New England and was a valuable mentor for the Falcons’ young defensive players, especially edge rusher Vic Beasley.

DEVONTA FREEMAN: The Falcons remain confident they will be able to sign running back Devonta Freeman to an extension but don’t expect a deal any time soon. It’s unlikely they’ll begin negotiations until just before training camp and talks could extend into the season. He has one year left on his contract at $1.797 million but has outplayed his rookie deal and is looking for a significant raise. The ripple effect of those negotiations could be significant because the Falcons have several high-profile players whose contracts expire in the next two years.

For more on that, see my column posted on MyAJC.com later today. I will link it here after it’s posted.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the Falcons column.

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Reader Comments 0

5 comments
jcarson
jcarson

I don't understand all of the TD venom.  He and Quinn have combined for two great drafts.  If you think our GM has no say in who gets drafted, you are crazy.

MoCutter
MoCutter

He has input as in he is allowed to speak opinion but Pioli and his crew do all of the scouting and Quinn dictates the types of players he wants for his scheme and he decides who will make the final roster. Those are facts. Not sure why you're wasting your time at this point with this comment but it is widely established that Quinn builds this roster. Salary cap issues are totally Dimitroff but talent evals and which player actually gets picked is all Pioli and Quinn.

Bug
Bug

TD is a moron regardless if he brings him back or not. By the way the coach picked the players last year not TD. Freeman I love but he is not irreplaceable, the offensive line had a whole bunch to do with his success and he ain't a top 5 NFL back like he thinks he is. Now is the time to trade him while they can get something for him, there are quite a few backs in this draft to take his shoes with Coleman taking the starting role. Giving the guy 6 to 10 million a year like he wants is not in the best interest of the overall team.

candlin14
candlin14

Freeney is the reason this team went to the Super Bowl. He brought Beasley to the dinner table and thought him how to eat in the NFL.

Not to mention he had a dam good year. If you don't bring him back Dimitrioff you are a moron.

MoCutter
MoCutter

Well now that's stupid. Freeney did not play the Falcons to the Super Bowl and neither did Vic. Football is a team sport which you probably wouldn't know what that means. It takes every guy on the active roster to win football games, down to the lowest guy on special teams. Freeney has some value but to me it's more as an asst coach than a player. He did help Vic but that lesson has been learned. The pass rusher who compliments Vic will be drafted in a few days. Freeney is only a contingency at this point.