Former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon could still be taken in the first round despite his troubled history. Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

For several NFL teams, Joe Mixon is a player who is considered untouchable no matter how talented he is or how impressive his tape looks. For others, the former Oklahoma running back just might be a first-round pick.

Mixon was not invited to the Scouting Combine because of his off-field issues, but he has met with several NFL teams in recent weeks. One team official told Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman that Mixon was “contemplative and thoughtful” when asked about his decision to hit a woman back in 2014. For at least one team, the 20-year-old’s openness when discussing the incident has gone a long way toward improving his image.

It should be noted that at least four NFL teams have removed Mixon from their draft boards entirely. Others, however, have reevaluated their stances due to his “sincerity.” Here’s more from Freeman:

Not only is his draft stock improving, but some teams say no player is moving up draft boards faster than Mixon. Apparently he’s checking every box as he meets with various franchises.

Mixon might now go as high as the second round. Some even believe the late first round is in play. (Still, remember the first rule of Draft Club.)

There are still teams who are highly uncomfortable with Mixon being drafted at all, let alone in higher rounds. Some of these teams are outraged by the idea of a team selecting a player who hit a woman. No one is saying he shouldn’t be allowed to play in the NFL. They just don’t want him drafted.

Anything could happen in next month’s draft, but there was once a belief that Mixon would find himself in football exile after the video was released that showed him punching a woman. The reality is Ray Rice’s blacklisting probably had as much to do with his age as it did with the horrific crime he committed. Like it or not, winning almost always trumps morality in the NFL.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

PLAYERS: Joe MixonRay Rice
TEAMS: Oklahoma Sooners
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