Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon thinks he has evolved as a player thanks to the team that drafted him in the 2017 NFL draft. Mixon, who was drafted in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft, has been a key part of Bengals offense for the past few years.
"I feel like being here, learning how to actually run the football in certain ways, getting to really learn down and distance, I feel like I became a lot better at that," Mixon said, per the team's website.
"Those are big things that are starting to move the chains. At Oklahoma, I was always looking for that big, explosive play. But really, those two or three yards, that means a lot going down the road. "Two and three yards, that's what I have to learn in the league is all of that piles up.
When you get after those two and three yards, usually it turns into five. Then it might go to one. Then it might go to 10. You just never know. Then you might break one. I think just learning how to be that runner that Cincinnati has basically been looking for."
Mixon a man on a mission
The Bengals obviously see Mixon as a key part of their future since they gave him a four-year, $48 million deal this week. Mixon wants to produce big-time for his team on the field and earn every penny.
"I'm not here to prove anybody wrong. I'm just trying to prove (the Bengals) right for why they paid me. That's what I do," Mixon said. "That's what I love to do. I'm here to play the game. I love the game, and I love being here as a Bengal.
I love my teammates and just being able to have this opportunity, I've got to be able to produce so they get that narrative out of everybody's head, and just try to help the young guys and show them how it's supposed to be done."
Quarterback Joe Burrow, who was selected at No. 1 by the Bengals this past draft, is excited to have Mixon long-term. "I was happy we were able to get that one done. I know he was very excited about it and you could tell the way he was acting at practice," Burrow said of the Mixon extension.
"He's team first. You see it. He's genuinely happy when his teammates make big plays. I don't think it could have happened to a better guy. I want the same thing. I think we can do a lot of great things together."