ALAMEDA – The Raiders visited with former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon at the team's Alameda facility on March 21.
General manager Reggie McKenzie came away impressed by the controversial figure notorious for punching a female in 2014 while at Oklahoma, who has spent significant portions of the pre-NFL draft process trying to show that violent incident caught on video doesn't define him.
"We thought he was a really good kid. He came off very well and explained each and everything, the questions that we had," McKenzie said Friday in a pre-draft press conference. "He had an explanation and he was up front about everything. The kid really came across as a good kid."
Mixon is also a premiere talent going pro, but there's no telling how far his off-field issues will drop him in next week's NFL Draft. There's debate where he'll be taken, though many expect Mixon to go in the first two rounds.
He was not invited to the NFL scouting combine due to an incident where he punched victim Amelia Molitor and fractured several bones in her face. Mixon has made several pre-draft visits and met with dozens at Oklahoma's Pro Day trying to explain his actions and why he's a safe pick in this year's NFL Draft.
Mixon and Molitor released a joint statement on Friday announcing the settlement of a civil suit, with both parties hoping to move on from an ugly incident after which the victim spoke out about being harassed.
"I am happy we were able to bring the lawsuit to an end," Molitor said in a statement. "Joe and I were able to meet privately, without any attorneys, and talk about our experiences since that night. I am encouraged that we will both be able to move forward from here with our lives. From our private discussions I am satisfied that we are going to put this behind us and work towards helping others who may have found themselves in similar circumstances. I greatly appreciate his apology and I think the feelings he expressed were sincere. We both could have handled things differently. I believe if we had a chance to go back to that moment in time, the situation would not have ended the way it did."
The running back is obviously a polarizing public figure, and the team that drafts him could take flak for selecting him.
"When stuff like this happens, whether it's domestic violence or drunken driving, whatever issue that comes up, we'll be prepared to answer questions," McKenzie said. "We'll do our research and if we make a decision, we're going to prepare to have answers for each and every decision that we make."
Raiders owner Mark Davis has taken a hardline stance against players involved in domestic violence incidents – this was technically assault of a man on a woman, as Mixon and Molitor were not in a relationship -- and he would have to okay a Mixon selection. The Raiders put considerable thought and research into select players with character concerns.
"What we do, we research everything. We get all of the information. We will not make a decision until all the information is in front of us," McKenzie said. "With certain issues, like domestic violence, we consider that and we really look into everything that is surrounding that.
"Every decision will be well-researched so if it's one way or the other, we are going to make it where that decision is based on all the facts, all the research and on the kid moving forward. But yes, we hold that very dear to what we do, as far as who we bring in, absolutely. We will not tolerate that at all."